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Grow fresh food. Share fresh food.

fresh-for-all-2016Grow fresh food. Share fresh food. The premise is simple and it’s growing into a popular initiative that is providing “fresh for all” households in Prince Edward and Hastings counties.

The concept is simple: if you’re planting a vegetable garden this summer, simply add an extra row or two to share. At harvest time, pick your produce and deliver your donation to a participating community food bank or meal program. Any produce can be accepted, at any time in the growing season.

Organized by various organizations and individuals, Fresh for All supporters met at Lakeshore Farms at Wellington this week to launch the program’s second year of helping others get the food they need.

“Some of our clients wouldn’t have this food on the table if it weren’t for this initiative,” said Linda Downey, of the Wellington Storehouse Foodbank. “We found last year that it was the best thing that could have happened to our foodbank. Some of the donations were anonymous – some dashing in and out the door before we could write down names to thank them.”

Downey noted the first year saw nine farmers and numerous gardeners onboard who dropped off thousands of pounds of fresh fruit and vegetables to the foodbanks in Wellington and Picton, the Food Not Bombs program, the Salvation Army and the new Food To Share initiative also started last year.

A bumper crop of donations saw volunteers at the Storehouse using up the excess by freezing, canning and baking the goods to be shared later in the year.

Ellen Brownbill, of the Picton Food Bank, added the program also helps raise awareness of the need for nutritious food in the community, and the importance of healthy eating.

So far this year, about 40 County farmers and gardeners have joined the cause.

Co-chair Steve Van de Hoef said the program is truly a community effort that contributes to solving high food insecurity numbers in the two counties where more than one in nine households don’t get the healthy food they require.

Supporting organizations include the sharing partners, Community Development Council of Quinte, the United Way and the Ministry of Children and Youth Services but Van de Hoef says it is the community members who make it happen.

“It’s easy to do and for the farmers, they are happy they don’t have to till produce they didn’t sell back into the soil.”

Downey notes everything is welcome – from an extra row in a large garden, to donations from plants in pots on patios such as tomatoes, or herbs.

* * *

Food-not-BombsFood Not Bombs is a community building group that shares free meals on the first and third Wednesday of each month, and the second Sunday of each month, – at the Picton Town Hall, above the firehall, on Ross Street, Picton. Wednesday meals begin at 5:30 and Sundays from 11 a.m. For more information, or to get involved with FNB, e-mail: or like the page on Facebook at

Picton Care and Share Food Bank – open Fridays 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.  at
Picton United Church
12 Chapel St., Picton.
Call 476-8516

Storehouse Food Bank – open Wednesdays from 1-3 p.m. or by appointment.
Storehouse Wellington and District Foodbank
305 Niles St., Wellington
Wellington Pentecostal church basement
399-1450 or 399-1482

Salvation Army Food Bank – open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to noon.
Salvation Army
46 Elizabeth St., Picton

Also available is:

The Hub Family and Child Care Centre – Healthy Food Healthy Families Programs for young parents and children to gain knowledge about nutritious food purchasing, preparation and storage. The program is offered monthly and every family takes home a Good Food Box.
The Hub also offers a Good Baby Box program to assist families to stretch their food dollar, reduce costs and meet needs of infants and toddlers.

The Children’s Garden project was also created at The Hub to help build healthy eating habits with the children of Prince Edward County. Starting at a young age is key for building lifelong skills, along with hands on opportunities from planting to harvesting and eating the food.

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