This year we have much to be thankful for. Thanks to your generous support, we exceeded our 2012 goal of 60,000 pounds. Our total harvest for 2012 was 65,238 pounds, an increase of almost 20,000 pounds over 2011. This was accomplished through three initiatives:
- The Seed2Need gardens – Three gardens were planted totaling 1.5 acres on the property of Victor and Nora Scherzinger and Bob Lynn and Janet Braziel. As you see from the graph, the gardens produced much earlier than last year. Part of this was due to a warm spring and the large number of volunteers who helped plant the gardens. This allowed us to get the gardens in earlier. Another factor was starting the green chile in the greenhouse rather than planting the seed directly in the ground. Planting seedlings allowed us to harvest chile six weeks earlier and it resulted in 2,000 pounds more chile than last year. Our total chile harvest this year was 4,416 pounds.
- The Seed2Need booth at the Corrales Grower’s Market – Between July and September, 3,150 pounds of produce was donated by the customers and vendors at the Corrales Grower’s Market
- Fruit gleaned or donated from local orchards – Again, because we had a warm spring and no late frosts, we had a very heavy fruit crop. Property owners in Rio Rancho, Corrales and the North Valley donated over 17,000 pounds of apricots, peaches, pears, nectarines, grapes and apples to the food pantries through Seed2Need.
This year, we distributed fruits and vegetables to fifteen food assistance programs in Bernalillo and Sandoval Counties including..
- Felix Pantry in Rio Rancho
- The Storehouse in Albuquerque
- Storehouse West in Rio Rancho
- Rio Grande Food Project
- John’s Episcopal Food Pantry
- Casa Rosa Food Pantry in Placitas
- Corrales Food Pantry
- People Helping People in Rio Rancho
- Jewish Family Services Food Pantry
- Vincent de Paul Food Pantry in Bernalillo
- Anthony’s Soup Kitchen in Bernalillo
- Roadrunner Food Bank
- Barrett House
- Meadowlark Food Pantry in Rio Rancho
- Crossroads Soup Kitchen in Albuquerque
Most of these food pantries picked up produce directly from the gardens. Board members and volunteers from several food pantries also helped plant, maintain and harvest the gardens.
In addition to the bountiful harvest, we achieved several other goals.
Over 100 people helped plant the gardens this spring, including a young Eagle Scout candidate and his team of scouts/family/friends, 35 foreign exchange students, Sandoval County Master Gardeners and other Seed2Need volunteers. This year Seed2Need volunteers devoted over 2,500 hours to the project. Approximately half of those hours were contributed by Sandoval County Master Gardeners. The other half were friends, neighbors, family members, 4-H, scout troops, students from Bosque School, church groups, employees from businesses such as PNM, Intel, United Health Care and Jiffy Lube, and private individuals who heard about the project in the newspaper or on the radio or TV.
We built a 16’x24′ greenhouse that will be used to raise 6,000 seedlings/year. The greenhouse structure was completed the first week of December. We still need to install the evaporative cooling system, fans, thermostats, run power and water to the greenhouse and paint the greenhouse tables.
We tested plastic mulch as a way to reduce weeding, conserve water and reduce irrigation system damage from mice, rabbits and ground squirrels. We were so pleased with the results that we plan to purchase a plastic mulch layer in 2013. This year, all of our tomatoes, green chile, eggplant, bell peppers, cabbage and broccoli were grown in plastic mulch.
Seed2Need became a separate 501(c)(3). This was done primarily to ensure continuity in the event we lose key personnel. It was also done to simplify grant applications. As of April 2012, Seed2Need was registered with United Way. Our mailing address is Seed2Need, PO Box 874, Corrales, NM 87048, our e-mail address is Seed2Need@gmail.com and you can find us on Facebook at Seed2Need.
- Finish the Seed2Need greenhouse – our goal is to complete the greenhouse by the end of the year.
- Purchase a plastic mulch layer – this is a piece of equipment that is pulled behind a tractor. It lays the irrigation system and covers the row with plastic mulch at the same time.
- Increase the size/number of Seed2Need gardens by at least 1/4 acre – this will increase production and give us more flexibility to rotate crops.
- Increase the number of volunteers – More volunteers are needed to facilitate future growth.
- Promote a “grow a row” program in the Village – the objective is to encourage local gardeners to plant an extra row in their own gardens and to donate the produce to a food pantry. We would also like to encourage local gardeners to drop off excess produce at the Seed2Need booth at the Corrales Grower’s Market.
From all of us, thank you again for helping us reduce hunger in New Mexico. We appreciate your participation and support.
Best wishes for a joyful holiday season!
The Board Members and Volunteers of Seed2Need