Thursday, Nov. 05, 2009
Several Utah food banks were recent recipients of 7,112 pounds of produce donated by the Utah State University Extension Food Pantry Garden at the Utah Botanical Center in Kaysville.
The first Utah Botanical Center Food Pantry Garden was planted last spring by three Boy Scouts for their Eagle Scout projects with the help of approximately 60 other people who planted 100 pounds of seed potatoes, 450 tomato plants, 4,000 corn plants and 200 melon plants. The 12,000 square-foot plot was maintained throughout the growing season and harvested in the fall by 1,100 community volunteers assisted by Utah Botanical Center staff members.
“It has been great to see the goodness and enthusiasm of the community as they have volunteered in such huge numbers to support this effort,” said JayDee Gunnell, Utah State University Extension horticulture agent in Davis County. “In our busy lives, there is something therapeutic about getting back to the basics. Working in the dirt seems to cleanse the soul.”
Produce donations included 2,379 pounds to the Bountiful Community Food Pantry, 1,580 pounds to the Family Connection Food Bank in Layton and 3,153 pounds to the Utah Food Bank in Salt Lake City. In addition, 8,200 pounds of onions were donated to the Utah Food Bank by Boy Scouts volunteering at the Kaysville Experiment Station onion research plot.
“The things they grew were wonderful, they were well accepted and people enjoyed them,” said Kathy Jones, assistant operations manager of the Bountiful Community Food Pantry. “We appreciate their donations and sincerely thank them for their generosity and kindness. Last month our facility served more than 1,900 people, so their donation made quite a dent in local hunger.”
Gunnell said the Utah Botanical Center staff looks forward to next year’s garden.
“Since this was our first year, we weren’t sure what to expect,” he said. “We were amazed and appreciative that well over a thousand people took time out of their summers to participate in this project with us, and we are grateful so many Utahns in need were the recipients of their labors. We anticipate that next year’s garden will be even bigger and better.”
Writer: Julene Reese, 435-797-0810
Contact: JayDee Gunnell, 801-451-3411