Our project started in 2008 when Master Gardener-trained Bill Zimmer and Norm Knaub cultivated gardens on their properties to grow produce to donate to area food banks. They continued on this path for 10 years, using their own funds and resources.

In 2018, Ken Lipson offered to use a portion of his property to grow food for the hungry and joined their effort. In 2019, gaining assistance from Penn State University, AmeriCorps, and various volunteer groups, we harvested 25,000 lbs. of fruit and produce (1/2 grown by Penn State) and donated all to Centre County charity food distribution programs.

COVID-19 hit in 2020, shutting down all growing activity and volunteer support to TWnM from the University. Undaunted, Ken and Bill expanded their fields 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 grower properties increased to 5 and the Centre County food distribution centers we support to 19, as we grew over 15,000 lbs. of produce for the food insecure.

In 2021, Penn State was again able to donate vegetables from their research gardens and we had the benefit of our first group volunteering days. Tess Kutasz Christensen, a devoted volunteer, joined our Board and expanded our administrative team to manage volunteers, distribution, marketing and fundraising. Our output reached 33,000 lbs. with contributions from additional gardeners, including 1 acre of sweet corn from our newest field on Fox Hill Road.

2022 started with great promise. We incorporated as an 501(C)(3) non-profit and gained access to 2 new orchards, only to see a late Spring frost severely diminish our harvest.  A mid-summer drought had a big impact on our crop output but we were still able to deliver 22,000 lbs. of vegetables and fruit against a goal that was well over twice that amount.

2023 was our best year ever, with 41,000+ lbs. of fruit and vegetables donated to 14 different distribution partners. 

Our history is a story of community.

Landowners and volunteers are the backbone of our effort, but our food growing program would not exist at its current level without the financial and advisory support from Centre County business, philanthropic, religious and education organizations.

Since 2019, funding for a major portion of our seeds, seedlings, equipment, and supplies has been provided through the generous support of the University Park Plaza Corporation. We are extremely grateful for the substantial funding we received from 100+ Women Who Care – Centre County and Aramco Americas Corporation.

Many others have helped us along the way with the donation of land, money, equipment, goods and services, whose support we gratefully acknowledge.


Provide fresh, locally grown vegetables and fruit for free as part of our effort to eliminate food insecurity primarily within Centre County, PA.


  • Expand the amount and type of fruit and vegetables grown and harvested to better meet the needs and preferences of the clients of our distribution partners.
  • Increase volunteer support and funding to plant, grow, and deliver sustainable annual harvests.
  • Optimize the use of distribution partners to efficiently reach the greatest number of individuals in need.
  • Engage a wider range of individuals and organizations within our local communities to support the Mission.


  • Engage a diverse and inclusive group of volunteers and supporters.
  • Respect and value the unique capabilities of all who support the program.

Board Officers

Bill is President and coordinator of all the growers. He is Master Gardener trained and has been growing for the local Food Banks, along with Norm Knaub, for the last 14 years. He provides overall direction as to what is planted, when things are planted and who grows them, how to properly maintain the crops, and when harvesting is optimum. He is a primary liaison with the community organizations that provide funding and volunteer support.

Ken is the Treasurer and originator of the “Think We, not Me” community movement. Years earlier, it was suggested he contact master gardener Bill Zimmer and he posted this message. It became one of the proudest & most fulfilling things he has done in his life:

“Looking for help and ideas…I have 6 cleared field acres along Boal Ave. and wish to eventually use an acre to grow crop/food and donate all locally to the county food banks……I have a tractor, some funding dollars to get it off the ground, & a desire, but don’t have the real knowledge as to farming & field preparation.…any who wish to join me, noodle ideas around & be part of it in any way are welcome. A pipe dream? Perhaps….. but I throw it out there and invite anyone interested to get ‘We, Not Me’ off the ground.”

Kari serves as Secretary and administrator. She is an active Penn State Master Gardener and supports our efforts with planning, seed propagation, planting and harvesting.  She has many years of volunteer experience of various types and is currently on the board of directors of the Boalsburg Village Conservancy and the Nittany Highland Pipe Band.


Norm is one of the original growers that started the group preceding our Think We, not Me Community Food Growing Program. Norm is a Centre County Master Gardener who serves as Co-chair of their project to distribute vegetable seedlings to the local Food Banks. While gardening is Norm’s passion, he is passionate about teaching others the joys of gardening. His home gardens are a showcase for various seminars and classes.

This is one of the larger gardens in the TWnM Community Food Growing Program. Last year this land provided 2,500 lbs. of produce for the county food banks, growing peppers, eggplant, multiple squash, melons and more.  The location also serves as a primary distribution location for pickup and delivery.

Bill has about ½ acre under management and a 12-tree fruit orchard. He grows some of the more challenging produce to include Canary and Crenshaw melons, cauliflower, seedless watermelons, and assorted red, yellow and orange peppers. Bill also arranges for the growing and purchasing of over 4000 seedlings to be grown by all participants.

This 2-acre field near the Airport was made available by the University Park Plaza Corporation. The organization has arranged for water service and equipment to maintain the sweet corn that will be planted in 2024. The property is planted and maintained by Don Irvin.

Pastor Dan has graciously donated the use of an acre of the church grounds for the cultivation of potatoes. We look forward to partnering with the congregation in support of their mission to “live out the Gospel by connecting people to Christ, Community and their Calling”.    

Kuhns Tree Farm is a family-owned farm seven miles east of State College, PA. that has been in business for nearly 40 years, providing families with the perfect tree and lasting memories every Christmas season.  Marianne Kuhns has generously offered several acres of her property for the cultivation of potatoes and corn for donation. With the able support of farm manager Doug Baker, we plan to deliver many thousands of pounds of produce from our effort here.


Common Ground Organic Farm began growing heirloom organic vegetables for our communities in 1986. Four generations of the Zuck-Sandoval-Lopez family help plant, cultivate and harvest multiple varieties of tomatoes and other vegetables for the Think We, Not Me community harvest.

This 1500-tree orchard grows 9 varieties of apples and is located in Bedford County, PA. The owner maintains the trees and opened up the property for harvesting by TWnM. Based on our ability to recruit volunteers, we have the potential to deliver over 10,000 lbs. of fruit to the Central PA Food Bank network.

The owner of this Harris Twp. property graciously offered TWnM the opportunity to harvest all of the apples, peaches and pears in his 80-tree orchard in return for our annual pruning and maintenance of the trees.

This Centre Hall location has 40 blueberry bushes as well as apple and pear trees. The owners generously allow TWnM to harvest these much-desired berries and fruit in return for our light maintenance of the trees.


Our Best Year Ever!

41,000 lbs. Grown…16 different Items.

  • 6 primary growers produced 22,000 lbs. on 4 acres.
  • 3 orchards provided 19,000 lbs. of fruit.

Planted and Harvested by a Dedicated Group of Volunteers

  • 50 individuals and groups.
  • Well over 2000 hours of service time.
  • Group volunteering is integral to our performance.

And delivered to 14 Distribution Partners

  • 3 partners handled 60% of available produce… largest food banks in Centre County.
  • Smaller non-profits reach a variety of clients with fresh and prepared foods.
  • Association with Central PA Food Bank expands access to resources beyond Centre County

With New Partners and Possibilities!

  • “Feeding Pennsylvania” PASS program supplements our funding.
  • Non-profit status allowed for generous donations through the “Centre Gives” fundraising event.
  • 2 new growers will join us in 2024 with 3 additional acres.