Bring your carrots to the food bank!

Yesterday I heard mom laugh out loud again – for the first time since her stroke more than a month ago. I’d told her that Chris Bargen was cutting the carrot tops in the garden with the lawn mower. I thought it was pretty funny too – I’d never heard of doing carrots like that. But he says his grandpa used to harvest carrots like that.

Chris Bargen uses a lawn mower to cut the tops off of carrots before harvesting. He learned that from his grandfather.

Chris and Leah planted our garden this year. It was their first garden together. I rarely planted more than half the area. They planted the whole thing. Four long rows of carrots, rows of beans, cucumbers, onions, peas, potatoes, lettuce, dill and pumpkins. Leah plans to eat from the garden this winter. I think more than just she and Chris will be eating from it! Helping her cut tops from too many carrots I told her, “You can always give some to the food banks.” She found that a good idea.

Leah has enough carrots to make a lot of people happy!

My African friends find it strange that we need food banks in Canada. We’re white, we’re wealthy. How can we have hungry people? We do. Right now, Farm Credit Canada is doing their annual ‘Drive Away Hunger’ campaign, driving a tractor and trailer through communities to collect food and cash donations. Our own town of Westlock isn’t on the trail, but our local bank is still collecting donations from September 24 to October 19.

The FCC website says that there are 850,000 Canadians every month who use a food bank, 38 per cent of which are children. These food banks are dependent on the donations of businesses and individuals to keep their shelves stocked. I called 1-800-387-3232 and asked if they accept donations of carrots, potatoes, squash and beets from the garden. They do, I was told, but those wanting to donate should contact the above number and see if their local food bank is taking garden produce. Sometimes storage can be a problem.
Sister Eileen, who manages the Westlock Food bank, says she is happy to take garden produce. (They are not allowed to take jars of preserves.) So if Leah still has too many carrots after taking care of her friends and family, she won’t have a problem getting rid of them!
My own parents used to grow an extra row of carrots and potatoes to bring to the Bible School they support. I myself have grown extra lettuce for local summer camps.
Leah and Chris have enjoyed this garden so much – the planting, watching things grow, harvesting their food. Now they are enjoying sharing it with others. With a little planning, we gardeners could intentionally share more with others who really need it. Now that will bring another smile to Mom’s face!

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