The Gift of Growing & Sharing Food

Fall 2023 — Gardeners and produce growers throughout the Helena Valley donate fresh produce to Helena Food Share each summer. Over the past three months, cars and trucks bearing fresh tomatoes, corn, cabbage, kale, carrots, cucumbers, apples, herbs, peppers, squash, zucchini, and so much more have made their way to the Pantry to share summer’s bounty. Between July 1st and October 6th, growers donated 26,580 pounds of local produce.

In addition to gardeners dropping food off each week – some donated and some purchased, many producers at the Helena Farmers Market donate food to Helena Food Share each Saturday that they haven’t sold by the end of the Market.

A couple of weeks ago, one of our long-time producer partners, Terry Johnson, owner of Johnson’s Nursery and Gardens, shared these thoughts after bringing in a load from his farm.

Friday, I brought in my weekly produce. I wanted to thank you for that opportunity, but I also wanted to share an experience I had. As I was leaving in my truck, a very nice middle-aged lady approached my truck on the passenger side. I stopped and rolled down my window. These were her words: “I saw you bring in that produce, and I just wanted to thank you for doing that. It means so much to me and my children. I have been out of work for four months, and getting produce is so wonderful.” As her eyes began to tear up, she went on to tell me how her kids love vegetables versus other items like donuts. I can’t begin to articulate what that moment meant to me. Lisa and I are very fortunate in our lives, but interactions like that are so precious and so heartfelt. I’m thrilled to play a part in Helena Food Share and the surrounding community. What a gift!

Thanks to Terry and Lisa and all who have grown food for our neighbors this summer, we have had a Pantry and Farm Stand filled with nutritious food each week. Their green thumbs, hard work, and generosity enrich lives, creating a hunger-free, healthier community – sharing food and sharing hope.

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