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Growing food for neighbors in need

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Posted on July 6, 2015 by Katarina S. Woronik '16, Hope of the Harvest Social Media and Communications Coordinator.

Courtesy: Katarina S. Woronik Volunteers from the community and the Central Bucks National Charity League help pick produce in HOH's charitable garden.

“The produce is what I look forward to the most each week…you can never have enough vegetables” exclaims Pennridge FISH food pantry recipient. That excitement and gratitude is the continuing drive behind Hope of the Harvest.  

Who We Are

Hope of the Harvest  (HOH)  is a charitable garden that uses Delaware Valley University land to grow fresh, nutritious food for area food pantries. In the first year alone, HOH has produced nearly 16,000 pounds of produce for people in need in the area.

Hope of the Harvest is a partnership between Delaware Valley University, Philabundance, the Bucks County Opportunity CouncilThe United Way of Bucks CountyThe Land O'Lakes FoundationThe Reinvestment Fund and The Lehigh Valley Community Foundation/ Pharo Family Fund.

It was started in 2012 with one acre on DelVal’s main campus in Doylestown, but has spread to three acres both on campus as well as at the University’s Roth Center for Sustainable Agriculture  in North Wales. Three years ago, one student had an idea of how he could contribute to the fight against hunger and how the University could give back to the community. Today, that idea is a reality. The garden allows us to grow, harvest, and donate thousands of pounds of fresh produce in a single season.

Workers and volunteers harvest the produce throughout the beginning of the week, which then gets brought to a central hub for distribution among food pantries. Pennridge FISH is one of the 22 food pantries in Bucks County receiving a portion of the donations.

We help to meet the needs of low-income residents while educating our community about how their efforts can make a difference. As part of HOH, DelVal students and staff have worked with and educated elementary, middle, and high school students in Bucks County. We have helped with the planning and construction of small greenhouses and raised beds, and the provision of different employment training opportunities for individuals with disabilities.

Growing Throughout the Year

Due to generous donations, HOH is able to provide seasonal produce throughout the year with the use of a hydroponic and aquaponic systems. These types of systems grow plants with the use of nutrient-rich water, allowing us to produce crops year round.

Goals

We are working to expand our spread by providing whole milled grains to complement the fresh produce. HOH set a goal of increasing production to 100,000 pounds of produce by the fall 2017.

Get Involved

HOH has been actively seeking funding via grants and sponsors. Donations contribute to the success of our project by helping to reach our short and long term goals. Continued financial support allows us to better serve the community.

Each Tuesday and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., you can volunteer in the garden. Sign up by contacting Eileen Albillar – ealbillar@bcoc.org.

Even if you do not have time to come out and volunteer, there are still plenty of ways that you can stay involved. HOH sends out monthly newsletters via email (delvalhoh@gmail.com) and shares updates on Facebook (facebook.com/delvalhoh), Instagram (delvalhoh) and Twitter (@delvalhoh).

About the Author

Katarina (Kay) Woronik is the social media and communications coordinator for Hope of the Harvest. She is a senior majoring in media and communication at Delaware Valley University and has a background and passion in agriculture communications and public relations. She will be working this summer as part of the horticulture team focusing on outreach and awareness of the HOH initiatives. She is a great advocate for the charitable garden and school and is excited to serve the University and the community through HOH. Please email her at delvalhoh@gmail.com if you would like to get involved with the garden.

Courtesy: Katarina S. Woronik A variety of plants growing in the Nutrient Film Technique (NFT's) in the hydroponic system