HarvestShare: Small Seeds, Big Impact

 “The seedlings were just a catalyst. Like many others, I was starting to feel powerless as COVID became a reality this winter. I thought that by asking gardeners to share their home grown food, I could not only bring awareness to issues of food insecurity, I could provide others with an opportunity to feel a sense of purpose. By each doing a small part and pooling our resources we can have a big impact.”  -Cat Kahn, Founder, HarvestShare

COVID-19 has changed our way of life, and as a community we are all finding different ways to cope. In response to the current health and economic crisis, the demands on local food pantries have increased exponentially and the need is anticipated to rise throughout the fall. In noticing this trend, HarvestShare was established as an initiative to connect backyard and community gardeners to the food assistance efforts in Montgomery County, MD. 

HarvestShare began when Cat Kahn, a Rockville  resident and member of the Montgomery County Master Gardeners, received 400 seedlings from a local high school to use in a project at Manna Food Center, teaching food assistance recipients how to grow their own vegetables.  COVID-19 forced the cancellation of this project, and Cat did not want these vegetable plants to go to waste. She started collecting more plants from around the County and distributing them to fellow gardeners, asking them to consider donating some of their home-grown produce to the food assistance network. As a result, HarvestShare was born.

HarvestShare’s mission is to connect gardeners and growers to work together to make a bigger impact on the community. Recently, the organization partnered with KindWorks, a community-based non-profit, to expand this project. Growers are asked to drop off their surplus produce at predetermined collection sites, where volunteer drivers will pick it up for distribution to non-profits and food assistance providers throughout the community. 

Neighborhoods, community gardens, and garden clubs in the County are  encouraged to set up their own collection sites and schedules, and HarvestShare will connect them with local food assistance providers. To date, HarvestShare has supported several organizations in the County, including Rainbow Community Development, Mid-County United Ministries, Gaithersburg Help, Balck Rock Hub, So What Else and many more. In the winter season, HarvestShare plans to conduct Zoom presentations about seed starting, garden planning, and other relevant topics to interested residents and partners. The Food Council thanks HarvestShare for their innovation and continued support of our community members during these challenging times. To learn more about HarvestShare’s work, please click here.

Upcoming Events

Apr 19

Food Security Community Call

Every other Monday, 1:00 to 2:00 or 2:30pm. Please register in advance.

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Apr 21

Food Economy Working Group Meeting

Third Wednesday of each month, 9-10:30am via Zoom.

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Apr 23

Smithsonian Seminar on Reducing Food Waste

Friday, April 23, Smithsonian Seminar on Reducing Food Waste, 3:30-5:00pm

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Apr 27

Food Education Working Group Meeting

4th Tuesday of each month, 9:30-11am via Zoom.

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Apr 27

Film Screening: A Community of Gardeners

A Community of Gardeners," sponsored by the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.

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April 27, July 27th, Oct 26th

Gardening Grant Showcase

The Food Education Working Group (FEdWG) would like to cordially invite you to our Gardening Grant showcase that we will be taking place over the course of four (4) FEdWG meetings in 2021.

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Apr 28

Stop Food Waste: Driving Awareness to Fight Food Waste

Stop Food Waste: Driving Awareness to Fight Food Waste. 2021 Virtual Event.

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Apr 29

Bethesda Green Innovation Lab – Entrepreneurs as Transformers

You’re invited to join Bethesda Green's Innovation Lab for an engaging, virtual event to celebrate the entrepreneurs of our Innovation Lab.

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Apr 30

Food Sovereignty Panel Discussion

The Montgomery County Food Council will be hosting a virtual Food Sovereignty Panel Discussion taking place on  Friday, April 30th from 10-11:30am.

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May 4

Environmental Impact Working Group Meeting

The first Tuesday of the month from 9:30AM-11AM via Zoom.

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May 25

Creating A Thriving Volunteer Team: Best Practices for Effective Recruitment, Management, and Retention in a Food Assistance Organization

Join us for a virtual training to learn best practices for recruiting and managing volunteers in your food assistance organization.

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