project instructions, book suggestions, and discussion questions from the Big-Hearted Families program of

Plant a Row for the Hungry

Dedicate a row of your garden to a local food shelf.

Everyone enjoys fresh produce. Help struggling families in your community by sharing your bounty.



Possible Recipients

Your local food pantry, soup kitchen – or deserving neighbors and friends. Learn more about the Garden Writer’s Association Plant a Row for the Hungry initiative.

What you’ll need

  • A garden
  • A bag or box to carry your freshly picked goods
  • Optional: card-making materials


  • Call your local food pantry or soup kitchen to make sure they can accept your donation.

  • Plant one row in your garden that you plan to donate.

  • When it’s ready, harvest your produce.
  • If you’d like, attach a card saying something like, “From the garden of ___“ or “Fresh to you! Enjoy!”
  • Deliver to the nonprofit or to a friend or neighbor in need. If you choose a food pantry, ask about getting a tour.


  • Why is it important to eat fresh fruits and vegetables?
  • Why might it be difficult for those with limited resources to get fresh produce?
  • How would it feel if you had to get your food from a food pantry?
  • What other ways can you share healthy, fresh foods with others?


  • The Vegetables We Eat by Gail Gibbons (Holiday House, 2008). Ages 5 and up. A simple, bright book to open up the world of vegetables to young children.
  • The Garden of Happiness by Erika Tamar (Harcourt Children’s Books, 1996). Ages 4 and up. Marisol learns the beauty of having a community garden in her New York City neighborhood.
  • Simply in Season (Expanded Edition) by Cathleen Hockman-Wert and Mary Beth Lind (Herald Press, 2009). Ages: older elementary to adult. Dozens of recipes and information about eating with the seasons.

Take it further

  • If you don’t have room to garden in your backyard, reserve a plot in a community garden. Get to know your neighbors and share your harvest!
  • If there’s not a community garden nearby, start your own. Get neighbors and friends to join in.

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