MOUNTAIN -- Lesley Johansen's Gardening for Groceries project has picked up steam since she envisioned it in early 2015.
The project, in which local gardeners can donate excess garden produce to the House of Lazarus in Mountain or the Dundas Food Bank in Winchester, has been enthusiastically received by both gardeners and food bank visitors. Most gardeners know that vegetables have a tendency to be ready at the same time, and would rather donate the extra food than have it go to waste. Fresh fruits and vegetables are often financially out of reach and not everyone is in a position to grow their own garden, although Johansen certainly encourages them to try.
Johansen was a food bank user at one time herself, and noticed that there is not much in the way of fresh produce, mostly for logistical reasons, so started this program with the House of Lazarus, where she worked.
She has made it as easy as possible for gardeners to join in. People take their produce directly to the food bank, mention Gardening for Groceries, and the food is weighed.
She has received lots of support from local businesses and companies whose owners think her project is great, and which have donated supplies, garden starter sets, services and money, among other things.
Now she has an additional focus -- seeking land that can be dedicated to the garden project. "If someone has some abandoned land or land they aren't using, two or three acres would be perfect."
Anyone interested in donating or lending land can call Johansen at 613-282-0660. Her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/GardeningForGroceries offers all kinds of useful tips for growing, cooking, preserving and sharing vegetables.