Although it may be known by many different names, the “Grow a Row” program is one that’s gaining popularity all over the world. The concept is pretty self-explanatory, and can make an enormous difference in another person’s life: as you plan this year’s garden, just aim to plant one extra row of whatever you’d normally cultivate—like tomatoes, carrots, lettuce, beans—for an organization that helps the hungry.

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Grow a Row

It’s estimated that one in eight people suffers from hunger and malnutrition, which means that all around the world, millions of people—including children—go hungry each and every day. That means that on an average crowded morning bus, there may be four or five people who won’t have enough to eat that day. In a schoolyard full of kids… well, one is too many, but it’s likely that several of them are too hungry to focus on their assignments. There is a way that the average person can help to ameliorate this, and that’s by simply growing a little bit extra in the family garden.

Related: 8 Ways to Start a Farm to School Program at Your Child’s School

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Urban gardeners can grow an extra row of food to donate to local charities like homeless shelters, soup kitchens, women’s shelters, and youth outreach programs, while those in the suburbs and rural areas might be able to donate to elder care homes and special needs programs. Although some school lunch and breakfast programs will only take monetary donations, you can also contact them directly to find out whether they accepthome-grown vegetables and fruits as well. Some veterinary hospitals will also accept food donations, and animal rescue/rehabilitation farms are often very appreciative of edible gifts too.

Related: How to Start Your Own Seed Bank

Friends and neighbors can share seeds in order to ensure that there’s little additional cost for individuals to take part in this program, and there are also many organizations out there that willdonate seeds to charitable and community garden projects. It really doesn’t take much extra effort to grow a little extra for those in need, and if everyone with a garden put this idea into play, the results would be absolutely incredible. 

+ Plant a Row for the Hungry Campaign 

+ Plant a Row, Grow a Row Canada