Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Justice Gardens & some neighborhood salad

i call this my "neighborhood" salad because it is from so many local gardens. frise and red lettuce from one neighbor, spinach from my mother in law, beet greens & buttercrunch head lettuce from my own garden. i topped it with grilled chicken and some of my favorite dressing, raspberry pomegranate by ken's. YUM. the dressing went perfectly with the cherries.

I am planning to cross post the following to our garden club, so forgive me if any readers are subscribers of both and they are hiccuping in their reading

The following article was in the Sunday edition of the Columbus Dispatch --

Ohio Food Banks Worry About Price Inflation - Fuel Costs

COLUMBUS, OHIO (AP) -- Rising food and fuel prices are making it more difficult for Ohio food banks to purchase enough food, just as pantries and soup kitchens across the state are seeing an uptick in visitors because of the slowing economy.

Officials at the Mid-Ohio Food Bank placed an online order with the U.S. Department of Agriculture commodities program late last month for almost $400,000.

The next day, officials were told they owed an extra $36,000 because of a sudden price increase as the order was being filled. Contributing to the sharp rise was the cost of a truckload of peanut butter, a popular item that jumped $6,000 in just minutes.

The Columbus-based organization, which supplies food to more than 500 pantries, soup kitchens and other charities in 20 central and eastern counties, had to return a tractor-trailer load of spaghetti and another load of spaghetti sauce to make ends meet.

In the last year, the price of spaghetti has jumped 98 percent, applesauce 48 percent and whole-kernel corn 33 percent, Mid-Ohio officials said. Even though the organization buys food in bulk to save money, it stopped purchasing rice because the price has gone up 118 percent since 2007.

"We are going to have to work even harder to find more food from all of our sources - the food industry, farmers, the state of Ohio - and increase bulk purchases with donated funds," said executive director Matt Habash.

Competition for the organization's supplies among food pantries is intense. For example, Mid-Ohio had 2,000 cases of canned chicken available through its online ordering system one recent morning.

The system opens at about 7:30 a.m. By 8 a.m., all 2,000 cases were claimed.

Because of the rising costs, food banks across Ohio must fill a gap of 26 million pounds of food in order to continue feeding the poor and working poor, according to an analysis by the Ohio Association of Second Harvest Foodbanks.

Food inflation is at a 17-year high, and that's affecting families as well as food banks, said Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, the association's executive director.

"People's incomes have not matched rising costs," she said. "For our families, there's no place left to cut. They've already cut."

Demand for food from Mid-Ohio is up 14 percent from a year ago, and the organization now hands out an average of 11.3 pounds of food per request, down from 13.6 pounds to individuals and families three years ago.

Soaring fuel prices are also squeezing Mid-Ohio's budget. The organization runs a fleet of trucks, which picks up surplus food and then delivers it to pantries and soup kitchens.

The extra $200,000 budgeted for expected fuel price increases probably won't be enough, Habash said

Jared Boyd and I, along with the Central Vineyard Garden Club are slowly but surely developing a ministry wherein we tithe our gardens to feed the homeless. These "Justice Gardens" to borrow a concept from the 1940s WWII era Victory Garden, are geared not towards feeding a family during war time but to wage war on poverty by making fresh fruits and vegetables widely available to the most impoverished in our community. Yes, everyone is being impacted by rising fuel prices by way of food costs but when it comes down to it, you and I probably have quite a bit more wiggle room in our budgets than we care to admit to. Especially in comparison to the budget of a working single mother, homeless family, or other community member on a very limited income. These are the people serviced by our local food pantry (the one we plan to work with primarily is the Clintonville Resource Center because they have refrigeration capabilities). So how will this work? It is simple. If you attend our church simply bring any bag of produce to church and give it to Jared Boyd or I. During the growing season we will have a table set up outside in the lobby. What if you don't garden? Also easy! Simply fill up a bag of fresh produce from the grocery store and donate it on Sunday! If you don't go to our church we can make other arrangements for donation such as dropping it off to one of our homes.


Anonymous said...

Here's a story for you.


jenny mae. said...


Anonymous said...

I stumbled across your blog when I got home from work. I actually read this article while I was at work and thought of it when I read about justice gardens.

Glad you like it!


EarlGirl said...

Wow, you amaze me! I want you to know, I've learned so much in just stalking your blog about what it means to really be a Christian instead of just being a member of a church. I'm having a little forum on faith and truth on my band of brothers blog right now. Would you be willing to stop by and just share a sentence or two about what you've learned about God? I'd be so interested to hear.

Jeni said...

Jenny, Check this out!!


jenny mae. said...

ooh i like that!

Queen Bee said...

i read this article in Reader's Digest and immediately thought of you: