Notable Edible: Grow-a-Row for Neighbors
Friends Eva Kuchinsky and Polly Watson have grown up with the Truro Farmers’ Market, volunteering every season since it began six years ago. Now with Kuchinsky moving on this fall to study in New Hampshire, and Watson beginning college the following year, the Nauset Regional High School students hope to make this summer at the market different.
“We repeatedly noticed two things,” says Kuchinsky. “Regular customers would say, ‘this week I have a lot of extra produce in my own garden, could I set up a one-time-only table to sell some of it?’ Other people would stop by and comment that they were limited in what they could afford to purchase at the market.”
“We put ourselves in our neighbors’ shoes to solve the problem, and found a way to connect everyone and make it easy for others to join in the solution,” adds Watson.
Grow-a-Row for Neighbors is the solution piloting this summer. This growing season, Kuchinsky and Watson are encouraging Cape Cod gardeners to plant just a few more seedlings, and when those vegetables are harvested, to donate the produce at their drop-off site at the Truro Farmers’ Market. Customers could also buy fresh fruit and vegetables themselves at the market to donate, or make a cash contribution which would be used to purchase even more produce from local vendors.
Gennie Moran, Chief Operating Officer of the Cape Cod Foundation, has been working with the two students to work out the logistics. At the close of each weekly market, volunteers tally the weights of the donated produce, then bag it up for distribution to nearby food pantries. A refreshingly innovative and thoughtful plan, Grow-a-Row mirrors the Cape Cod Foundation’s mission of neighbors helping neighbors.
Last Labor Day weekend at the Truro Agricultural Fair, Kuchinsky and Watson began marketing their vision with a flyer also distributed through the school system. “Now we’re starting to expand into more social media,” says Watson, smiling.
Believing they can creatively connect communities to supply more fresh food to people in need, plus increase Cape Cod’s overall health, Kuchinsky and Watson hope their germ of an idea takes root. Their vision is to trial run this initiative for the summer of 2017 with a future follow-up program guiding other farmers’ markets to become hubs for an expansive Grow-a-Row for Neighbors network, Cape-wide and beyond.
Grow-a-Row for Neighbors at Truro Farmers’ Market
20 Truro Center Road, Truro
Drop-offs every Monday, June 12 - August 28, 8am-noon