Well, it was a really busy spring for HarvestShare. While the County’s Greenfest at Brookside Gardens was canceled because of impending storms, we continued with our gardening outreach in lots of other ways.

Our Seedling Share event held throughout May was again a monumental success with over 1000 plants donated and redistributed into the community. Who grew and donated all of those plants? County residents, MoCo Master Gardeners, HarvestShare volunteers, and Northwest High School students under the leadership of horticulture teacher Erol Miller and Environmental Club sponsor Courtney Conklin. A special thanks to the Sandy Spring Garden Club for donating the unsold plants from their annual strawberry festival. Where did all of those plants go? Montgomery Parks’ participating gardeners got to shop first, then some residential growers. Plants were also utilized in the White Oak Youth Garden in Silver Spring, HarvestShare Giving Garden in Potomac and the Identity/Wheaton Wellness Center garden at Wheaton High School. Other recipients included students at Rock Terrace Elementary School, CentroNia preschool in Takoma Park and Crossroads Community Food market shoppers.

Our community outreach and empowerment program is currently supporting both a moms’s group and students’ group at the Wheaton Wellness Center. HS leader Diana Cardona is working with each,  providing bi-lingual educational support focusing on food gardening in ground and in containers.

At the White Oak Day community day event held on June 3, over 350 plants were distributed to local residents in this high need area of Silver Spring. We also provided interested gardeners with seeds to grow bush beans and dwarf sunflowers.  In conjunction with volunteer educators from the MoCo Master Gardeners, we assessed the gardening experience of each person visiting our tent  and their particular growing considerations,  recommending plants suited for each individual home. Tomatoes, hot and sweet peppers, herbs, eggplant, okra and flowers were just some of the plant offerings we were able to share free of charge.

An in-person  Mushroom Growing Workshop, HarvestShare’s first fundraiser, was held at the home of Tom “the mushroom guy” Mulczynski in Bethesda. Twenty-three participants registered for the two-hour event and learned how to grow 3 different types of mushrooms, taking home straw and spores to grow their own at home. This win-win program provided gardeners with an interesting hands-on experience and generated funds to support our community outreach programs.

Our Giving Garden is planted and already producing greens and herbs to donate to local food assistance  provider Nourishing Bethesda. Montgomery Parks community garden, Grown@Pope food production garden and the white Oak Youth Garden have, since March,  donated over 700 pounds of nutritious greens to MidCounty United Ministries, the Gaithersburg CARES Hub, Rainbow Community Development Center and Nourishing Bethesda. Great job everyone!

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