by Diana Nelson Jones/March 23
The Mount Washington Community Development Corporation has joined with The Dinner Garden, a non-profit in San Antonio, to provide packets of vegetable seeds to families in need.
Each seed pack contains 5-6 varieties, enough to grow a garden for a family of four. Packets are available for pick up Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the MWCDC office, 301 Shiloh Street. One per customer. The MWCDC is the only Dinner Garden location in Pennsylvania that is distributing to the public.
These are free to the people but they are not free. Donations to the Dinner Garden enable the non-profit to scatter its largesse.
Holly Hirshberg, a family gardener in San Antonio, is behind the effort to help families throughout the country make productive use of their land while saving money on food.
"Our mission is to end hunger by giving away free seeds to anyone in the USA who wants to start a garden," Holly wrote in an e-mail.
Two years ago, she decided to expand her garden to grow produce to donate to her local food bank. Then the idea grew: She would create a non-profit and cast a wider net. The web site refers to the Victory Gardens people grew during World Wars I and II as a response to rationing and to reduce their demand for the nation's food supply.
Today more people are gardening to win the war on their personal income.
The Dinner Garden's web site, http://www.dinnergarden.org/ claims that demand for seeds has skyrocketed: "Overnight, we jumped from 20 requests per day to 5000 requests per day!" In one year, it states, the non-profit has provided seeds to more than 40,000 families and more than 100 community gardens in 12 states.
"We don't charge anything for seeds, not even a stamp. Of course, our postage fees are really high!" she wrote. "When we can utilize a distribution site like a community group, church, or business it enables us to get seeds in the hands of a lot more people for less money. You can see the list of our distribution sites here http://www.dinnergarden.org/needSeeds.html, and we are always looking to add more."