Submitted by Oswego County
The Peoples’ Produce Project is a volunteer project that was launched last year by Oswego County Department of Social Services staff members.
Building on a successful first season, the initiative continues to help local residents supplement their pantries with fresh local produce.
“We began this project last year with four raised garden beds that held over a dozen vegetables and herbs,” said Elaine Samson, a Department of Social Services community service worker and project coordinator.
“It yielded more than 200 servings of vegetables and served approximately 100 families. This year, the garden has doubled in size and offers more produce to visitors at the county offices in Mexico,” Samson said.
The People’s Produce Project now has eight garden beds which include eggplant, acorn squash, Swiss chard, green leaf lettuce, yellow beans and dill and the staple items that were offered last year.
Samson and her team of volunteers received donations and support from many individuals and organizations.
“We were so happy with last season’s results that we wanted to expand the garden and plant an even bigger variety of vegetables this year,” said Samson. “We couldn’t have done this without the community’s support. Many people and businesses have made generous contributions and volunteered their time to help build and maintain the gardens.”
This year’s volunteers include: John and Brennan Samson, Adriana Ketchum, Marcia Birdsell, Lela Fuller, Heather Ladd, Jill Wood, Catherine Livoti-Rice and Bob Ireland, a caseworker at DSS, who built a farm market stand to display the garden’s harvest.
Michelle Lawson of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County helped with the design and placement of the beds and provided guidance on their content.
Other supporters include Caster’s Sawmill in Sandy Creek; Fowler’s Greenhouse in Hannibal; Ontario Orchards in Oswego; and Oliver Paine Greenhouses in Fulton. Many staff members contributed to the project through monthly fund-raising luncheons.
For more information about the project, or to make a contribution or volunteer, call 963-5463.