Are you inundated with tomatoes, zucchini, and strawberries yet? If so, we have a way for you to give back to the community, while keeping your garden flourishing!
Again, this year, Crook County On The Move (a program of the Crook County Foundation) is encouraging people to Share Your Bounty. This initiative encourages community members to garden in order to provide fresher, locally grown produce to residents. Not everyone is able to garden, some do not have the physical space, others have limitations that make gardening difficult or impossible, and others simply do not have the time to maintain a garden. Share Your Bounty gives more of us the opportunity to participate in the local harvest bounty. Never has there been a greater need to share your bounty.
In past years the Share Your Bounty initiative has resulted in over 1,700 pounds of fresh produce donated to the food pantry at First Baptist Church. The program has also been able to support other food opportunities in Prineville. Due to COVID-19, we are unable to host our Bounty tables at events like Picnic in the Park or Movies in the Park, where folks either brought their garden overproduction or took home what they needed, the Senior Center is closed and Craig’s Compassionate Kitchen is remodeling their kitchen. However, our volunteers have worked hard to find alternative methods for you to share or receive produce.
Fresh produce can be dropped off 10 am-Noon, Monday-Thursday at St. Vincent de Paul (1103 NE Elm Street, Prineville) and 11:30 am-Noon, the last 2 Mondays of each month at First Baptist Church (460 SE Fairview Street, Prineville). Additional drop off locations may be added, please look for our advertisements and follow us on Facebook www.facebook.com/crookcountyonthemove.
Gardening, whether in the backyard, on the patio, or at a community garden plot, provides multiple personal benefits. There is plenty of research to support increasing vegetables and fruit in the meal plan for optimal health. Add to that the invigorating physical activity while tending those plants and the mental refreshment just being outdoors. There is something extremely satisfying about digging in the dirt! Top the list of personal benefits with connections made while conversing over the back fence with neighbors or at mealtimes shared with family or friends.
Those benefits extend to our entire community in the act of sharing our harvest. Sharing food with others is one of the best ways to break down barriers, enhance communication and empathy, and really get to know folks. A surprising outcome of Share Your Bounty occurred as project committee members learned that food pantry clients know how to use, prepare, and enjoy even obscure vegetables. “Our experience disproves the myth that people don’t want healthful fresh produce,” said committee member Carol Benkosky. “We were swapping recipes and cooking techniques in the church parking lot.”
If you need a help with a garden, contact Crook County OSU Extension (541-447-6228) for advice or to learn more about their current schedule of gardening classes. No room to garden? You can participate in the community garden at the Prineville Presbyterian Church (541-447-1017).
The Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act of 1996 protects the home gardener from liability when produce is donated to a non-profit organization. https://www.feedingamerica.org/about-us/partners/become-a-product-partner/food-partners has more information.
Crook County On The Move is a program of the Crook County Foundation. For more information, please contact Brandi Ebner, Crook County Foundation Executive Director, at 541-362-1210.