2013-2014 FISCAL YEAR CHAIR(S): Penny Davis and L.D. Alexander
MEETING LOCATION: Manierre Road in Corrales.
NUMBER OF VOLUNTEERS NEEDED: The need for volunteers is infinite. The more volunteers we have, the more we can increase garden size.
TYPICAL MEETING TIME(S)/DURATION: Once the gardens are planted (approx the 3rd week of May), meeting times/duration are Tuesday and Saturday mornings from 7-9 am. and Thursday evening from 5-7 pm. Prior to May, work sessions are scheduled on an "as needed" basis and a notice is sent via e-mail to the names on the Seed2Need distribution list. If you would like to be added to this distribution list, e-mail Penny Davis at Seed2Need@gmail.com.
BRIEF PROJECT DESCRIPTION: Seed2Need is a collaborative effort between the Sandoval County Master Gardeners, property owners in the village of Corrales and other volunteer groups. Our mission is to reduce hunger and improve nutrition in New Mexico by growing fresh produce for food pantries in Sandoval and Bernalillo Counties. We also glean fruit from local orchards and solicit produce donations and promote a "grow a row" program at the Corrales Grower's market. Since 2010, these efforts have generated over 180,000 pounds of fruit and vegetables that was donated to 15 food assistance programs in our community, including food pantries in Corrales, Rio Rancho, Bernalillo, Albuquerque and Placitas. Because most food pantries pick up produce directly from the gardens, it is often in the hands of the families who need it within hours of harvest.
Seed2Need is a 501(c)(3). The financial resources and equipment necessary to do the project come from local businesses, private individuals (many of them volunteers) and grants.
MAIN EDUCATION/TRAINING TASKS: Seed2Need provides many opportunities to apply what master gardeners learn in class including seed starting, soil testing, fertilizer calculations, insect identification and control, fruit tree pruning, use of row cover, mulching techniques and t-tape irrigation. In 2012, we also started a compost pile thanks to the efforts of SCMG and Master Composter John Zarola.
Because approximately half of our volunteers are members of the general public - scouts, 4-H, church groups, students from local schools, community service groups from business such as PNM, Intel, Jiffy Lube and United Health Care, food pantry volunteers and private individuals - there are ample opportunities for master gardeners to answer gardening questions and to pass along information learned in class.
BENEFICIARIES OF THE PROJECT: Seed2Need serves needy families in our community by growing fresh produce for distribution through local food assistance programs. New Mexico currently ranks #1 in the nation in terms of childhood hunger and 3rd in the nation in terms of poverty. Since 2008, there has been a significant increase in the number of families requiring emergency food assistance. 51% of our food pantries report turning people away due to a shortage of food. Federal and State funding has been cut and charitable contributions are down nationwide. Fresh produce, an important component of a healthy diet, is particularly scarce because it is expensive and highly perishable. As master gardeners, we can help.
LIST ANY RESTRICTIONS OR SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS: Work in the Seed2Need gardens is not suitable for those with serious health problems or severe reactions to insect bites. The work is physical and requires bending, kneeling and lifting. During the summer months, the gardens are hot. There are some tasks such as seed starting and work at the Seed2Need booth at the Corrales Grower's Market that are less strenuous. Contact Penny for more information. Recommend wearing sunscreen, gloves, a hat and long pants and closed-toed shoes to protect against ant bites. Water, shade and a portable toilet are provided at the gardens.
CONTACT INFORMATION: For more information or directions to the gardens, contact Penny Davis at Seed2Need@gmail.com
For more information, follow us on Facebook at Seed2Need or at www.seed2need.us