This is a great program and as simple as it sounds, market leaders know that once people have grown food, they have a deeper respect for it and for the people who grow a lot of it. Expecting everyone to till a garden patch for multiple seasons is not logical for all neighbors, nor is it necessary. I remember how in post-Katrina New Orleans we were trying to figure out window box welcome kits for FEMA trailer residents and after that era had passed, even working on educational outreach for growing food at that level with a neighborhood that has little to no community green space for shared gardens. We encouraged them to work with the coffee company on its periphery to offer containers for small herb gardens. I think more markets can work with food pantries on educational programs, extending markets human capital reach.
Out of the 158 program participants surveyed last year, nearly 90 percent actually planted gardens. And more than 90 percent of the gardeners say they shared their produce with friends and family. McKelvey says connecting people to their food also helps connect them to each other.