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Farmers using harvest season to help neighbors

By Nicole Tam

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    STORY COUNTY, Iowa (KCCI) — About a dozen volunteers visit Reiman Gardens every Monday between June and October. They help harvest produce for a program called Plant A Row for the Hungry.

Between beautiful flowers at the peaceful garden at Iowa State University, volunteers chit-chat about life while picking crops.

Each box of donated produce is weighed in the parking lot. The goal is 10,000 pounds of produce this year.

“It’s amazing to see all of these people come together,” Plant A Row coordinator Kara Hetrick said.

The farmers are not just Reiman volunteers.

“People who are out in their gardens, at their own homes, putting in the effort, growing the produce and bringing it here free will. And it’s just amazing to see the community come together,” Hetrick said.

Hundreds of pounds of produce come through every week. It is sorted and then sent to eight pantries in Story County. One of them is the Nevada School District’s pantry.

“Helping families and students eat more nutritious, we help them in so many different areas,” said Elizabeth Gindt with the Nevada Community School District.

The need for food assistance is great right now.

“Groceries are on the rise for families. And to have these additional items just helps the impact them in such a positive way,” Gindt said.

Nothing harvested goes to waste, the larger and older produce is donated to local zoos. The last harvest for Plant A Row this year is on Oct. 16.

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