Free farmer's market helping local food pantries - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Free farmer's market helping local food pantries

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It has been a great year for produce, so far, as the Church Community Services "Seed to Feed" program takes on their second growing season.

With all the veggies they're bringing in, they hosted their first ever FREE farmer's market for local food pantries, something that Carla Pontius, a food pantry director calls "a labor of love."

Pontius says she loaded up her cart at the "Seed To Feed" Farmer's Market. "Everybody got what they needed to pass around."

She says 200 pounds of FREE fresh produce will go a long way at Elizabeth Abel Food Pantry, where they serve almost 200 people a meal. "It just multiplies. It makes our budgets easier this week, it makes the person standing in the lines budget easier this week."

"Seed to Feed" volunteer Katie Jantzen says this year's crop looks good. "We are having wonderful luck in our gardens. The weather has been much more corporative than last year and we're excited to see the great harvest."

They're only in their second year as a program and Jantzen says they're expanding. They've tripled the number of gardens and have added livestock to the project, all this to help meet their main goal. "What we're really trying to do is reach everyone in the county and so we need the help of other food pantries to do that."

This Farmer's Market seemed to be the best way. Most of the produce was grown in "Seed To Feed" gardens and from there, pantries can distribute it to their regulars. "It impacts all the way through. I know that a few years ago when Elkhart was hit so hard, a lot of the pantries were hit hard and had to close and it made the need even more so," says Pontius.

That's why she says with organizations like "Seed to Feed" and local pantries working together, they can continue to fight local hunger, "It's a community effort."

"Seed to Feed" organizers expect to double or triple this year's harvest from last year which is why they hope to host free farmer's markets throughout the rest of the summer. Jantzen says they are always looking for volunteers to make this program possible. If you're interested in helping, call (574) 295-3673.

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