GROWING PRODUCE FOR FOOD PANTRIES

Get Involved

Volunteers

COMMUNITY GARDENING. BY THE COMMUNITY. FOR THE COMMUNITY.

HUNGER IN NEW MEXICO

A landmark study released in 2010 by the New Mexico Association of Food Banks and Feeding America, our nation’s largest domestic hunger relief organization, reports that nearly 40,000 New Mexico families seek food assistance each week. 40% of the members of households served are under the age of 18.  With limited financial resources available to organizations providing hunger relief, there is little available to invest in perishable commodities.

According to the most recent Census Bureau Report, New Mexico ranks #1 in terms of poverty. High unemployment, underemployment and a slow  economic recovery have increased the number of families seeking emergency food assistance. Federal and state funding has been cut and charitable contributions are down nationwide. 51% of our food pantries have reported turning people away due to a shortage of food.

A USDA study found that under-nutrition experienced by children during periods of growth impacts their behavior, their school performance, and their overall cognitive development. Studies relating to food insecurity amongst the elderly found significantly lower intakes of protein, carbohydrate, saturated fat, niacin, riboflavin, vitamins B-6 and B-12, magnesium, iron and zinc, as well as lower skinfold thickness, resulting in lower body weight and increased immunological vulnerability.

A USDA study found that under-nutrition experienced by children during periods of growth impacts their behavior, their school performance, and their overall cognitive development. Studies relating to food insecurity amongst the elderly found significantly lower intakes of protein, carbohydrate, saturated fat, niacin, riboflavin, vitamins B-6 and B-12, magnesium, iron and zinc, as well as lower skinfold thickness, resulting in lower body weight and increased immunological vulnerability.

DONATE TIME. DONATE PRODUCE. DONATE MONEY.

We have two primary initiatives: the gardens and harvesting fruit from local orchards. The need for more volunteers is a constant as we continue to grow in scope.  It takes a lot of people to pick an acre of tomatoes in two hours or to harvest 50 fruit trees. If you would like to get involved, please join our mailing list. We do not send spam. Typically we start sending emails in the spring as we prepare to plant. To be involved prior to May, please email Seed2Need@gmail.com.

GROWING PRODUCE

 

We grow approximately 2 acres of vegetables in 4 gardens on Manierre Road in Corrales. Land and water is donated by local property owners.

GLEANING FRUIT

 

We work with several individuals with large orchards, coordinating volunteers to harvest fruit on behalf of local food pantries and soup kitchens.

SeedNeed volunteers

DONATE TIME

Seed2Need is a community garden by the community for the community. We rely on assistance from church groups, scout troops, school groups, individuals and corporate community service groups to help us plant, maintain, and harvest the gardens. Everyone involved is volunteering their time and skill. Participating in projects like Seed2Need allows you to assist others in your community in a very direct, hands-on manner. Your effort will provide fresh, nutritious produce to local families in need. It is a great way to meet people within the community and to learn gardening techniques from Sandoval County Master Gardeners. All assistance is appreciated, whether the commitment is short term or long term. Email Seed2Need@gmail.com to be added to the mailing list regarding planting, maintenance, and harvest work sessions.

Seed2Need is reliant on volunteers. Unlike many non-profit endeavors, this project often requires strenuous manual labor, sweat, scrapes, and dirt. Throughout the season hundreds of people come out to help, young and old, from all walks of life, unified by the common desire to have a positive impact on society. For more information or directions, please contact Seed2Need@gmail.com.

Sometimes we have amazing turnout. The photos on Facebook can be misleading. Usually photos are indicative of having enough volunteers to hold a camera rather than a shovel. Usually we need more volunteers, particularly when there is weeding to do or several crops to harvest. The more people we have each time, the more we can get accomplished quickly, without wearing anyone out. We want everyone to enjoy themselves, to meet some people, to learn a few things and to come back…often. The individuals who come regularly, for multiple seasons, are invaluable. They understand the process from beginning to end and can help explain to newcomers how and why we do things. We rely on returning volunteers to help first time participants.

Due to the unpredictable nature of volunteer turnout, we ask that larger groups let us know when they plan to help at the gardens. That will allow us to prepare for the work session and to schedule groups on different days to maximize what we can accomplish. Peak harvest tends to occur between mid August and the first week of September, with 8000-12,000 pounds harvested per week. This tends to be the most rewarding part of the process for volunteers; however, the interminable weeding of June and July are what make the garden productive.

The videos to the right provide a general introduction and information regarding planting techniques and tips. If you will be helping us plant the gardens, please consider watching the videos. For newcomers the video explains how we do things and why, which will help avoid many of the common mishaps that occur during the mayhem of planting. For regular volunteers the video will provide a reminder of what to watch for during planting. The gardens are so big that it takes a lot of people supervising and answering questions for things to go smoothly.

Seed2Need is almost 100% volunteer staffed. The exception? Interns. As of 2015 we decided to hire two interns to help schedule and supervise orchard gleaning and to help keep the gardens maintained, particularly during weeding season when temperatures rise and enthusiasm wanes. Recently graduated high school students with 4H background and agriculture/horticulture students are encouraged to apply. Knowing how to drive a tractor is a plus.

As a reminder to new and regular volunteers, hats, sunscreen, long sleeves shirts and pants are recommended. Whereas shorts, t-shirts and tank tops are comfortable and cool, many people have unexpected reactions to some of the plants (both weeds and vegetables). There are also a variety of insects that may bite or sting, including bees, ants, wasps, spiders, and other common garden inhabitants. A hat, sunscreen, gloves, long sleeve shirt, and pants are suggested. We provide water and have bug repellent.

DONATING PRODUCE & GLEANING

We are available to glean fruit from local orchards as time and volunteer availability allow; however, it is limited and the apples all seem to ripen at about the same time. Whereas we are appreciative of the many requests received, often we are unable to accept every offer due to limited volunteer availability and equipment. Many of our ‘core’ volunteers are senior citizens, which makes ladders a perilous prospect in terms of liability. As of 2018, we have received additional assistance from local Boy Scouts troops; however, gleaning can become overwhelming when the apples ripen in Corrales. Our goal is to help other groups coordinate the gleaning separately from the gardens so we can accept more of the fruit donations offered. For more information on donation fruit and produce, please check here.

DONATE MONEY

Seed2Need is run entirely by volunteers. We need donations to continue to operate and expand our mission of fighting hunger in New Mexico. Seed2Need is a qualified 501(c)(3). Donations are tax deductible.

We would not be able to do this project without financial support from the community and local businesses. Please consider including us in your charitable contributions this year. We accept funds via United Way, PayPal, and post: PO Box 874, Corrales, NM 87048. We also participate in AmazonSmile, where a non-profit is designated to receive a small portion of all of your Amazon purchases. For more information about donating to Seed2Need, please click here.

We receive donations from many sources, in a number of ways. We are set up with PayPal. If your employer, or place of business, donates charitable contributions to United Way, Seed2Need is registered with them. You can request that your contributions be directed towards our project.

volunteers
Please follow and like Seed2Need:
error

2 Comments

  • Jonathan Nyczaj says:

    Hi there, I am the operations manager at CarMax here in Albuquerque and we have a group of associates here who would like to volunteer some time to help with the planting and gardeners. I was looking to set something up for this month if there is still time. Please let me know, we are happy to help.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Updates on upcoming work sessions