Our project started when Master Gardener-trained Bill Zimmer and Norm Knaub cultivated parcels of land on their properties to grow produce to donate to area food banks.
Ken Lipson agreed to use a portion of his property to grow food for the hungry.
Gaining assistance from Penn State University (PSU), Americorp, and various volunteer groups, we harvested 25,000 lbs. of fruit and produce (1/2 grown by PSU), and donating all to Centre County food distribution Centers.
COVID-19 hit, shutting down all growing activity and volunteer support from the University for TWnM.
Undaunted, Ken and Bill expanded their fields and gardens to maximize their output. With assistance in field preparation and equipment maintenance from Jim Boyce, and Karen Robinson assuming expanded volunteer and administrative responsibilities, the volunteer base of TWnM grew to over 50 people. Our Principal Grower properties increased to 5, Centre County Distribution Centers to 19+, growing and distributing over 15,000 lbs. of produce for the food insecure.
We plan to enlist up to 20 additional gardeners to grow specific produce for donation under our Free Gift Garden project. These smaller-parcel growers will be given the materials and volunteer support to plant, cultivate and harvest a garden on their property. They will retain some produce for their own use while donating at least 50% of their harvest to our food distribution partners.
Funding for a major portion of seeds, seedlings, and supplies in 2021 is being provided through the generous support of the Nittany Settlement Company.
Going forward, we will benefit from the support of PSU soil scientist Professor Ephraim Govere, leader of the Keller Street Community Garden, and our gardening consultant.