HOWELL – The harsh winds and snow storms brought on by this winter season left the Howell Organic Community Garden (HOCG) without a shed.
Established in 2015, the Howell Organic Community Garden is a nonprofit organization composed of local residents who not only love gardening, but are motivated to improve their town.
On Christmas Eve, the HOCG’s shed was destroyed from the winter storms. This community shed is where members store tools and supplies that they use for their Plant a Row for the Hungry (PAR) program.
The HOCG have been participating in the PAR program since 2015, which is a nationwide movement that “encourages farmers and gardeners to plant one extra row and donate this produce to local people who need food.” Through this program, over 5.3 tons of fresh produce have been donated to local food banks, churches, and individuals in need.
Currently, the HOCG donates to Joshua House Food Pantry, Howell Senior Center, the Howell Food Pantry, Prince of Peace, and Christ Church. The HOCG members partake in the planting, seeding, maintaining, harvesting and delivering all food.
“HOCG and the Howell Community are very proud of the HOCG PAR group of 22 volunteers led by Andy Valdes,” HOCG President Rick Pereira said in a statement. “Last year alone, this group donated over 2.7 tons of fresh produce to local food banks and local churches. The pandemic created a great need for fresh produce donations last year and will continue to do so for those who will continue to be financially challenged in 2021.”
Along with the PAR program, the HOCG also provides a composting program, tours, workshops and classes on a variety of topics. Their site includes a certified monarch butterfly station, pollinator garden and an apiary with five beehives.
HOCG stated how their now-destroyed shed was graciously donated back in 2018 and was built by Troop 515 Eagle Scout Stephen Couto. The organization is limited in funds and depend entirely on member plot rental fees, grants, and donations (monetary or in-kind).
Without a sufficient storage shed, members are concerned about the tools and supplies being damaged or stolen since they’ve only been able to use a tarp to cover their supplies. The HOCG is reaching out and asking for the communities’ help to purchase a new shed so they can continue to grow and donate food to residents in need.
Anyone interested in making a monetary donation toward the shed purchase, construction of shed, or a shed donation can contact Howell Organic Community Gardens by visiting their Facebook page and sending them a message through Facebook Messenger, or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about the Howell Organic Community Garden, visit their website at howellorganiccommunitygardens.com.