Community gardens aim to produce 50,000 pounds of food for those in need

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) -- The goal is to get 50,000 pounds of locally grown produce into the hands of those hit hard by pandemic; and on Thursday The Big Garden took a big step in making it happen.

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It was an all-day effort across the street from the Together Food Pantry in downtown Omaha.

“We’re putting in 20 raised beds here for a pantry garden for those who come to Together,” said Nathan Morgan, Executive Director, The Big Garden. “This is the largest one-day build we’ve ever done before.”

The nonprofit typically focuses on helping people learn how to grow healthy food, but when the pandemic hit they saw another need.

“We pivoted hard to food production this year. we have the goal of producing 50,000 pounds of food this year,” said Morgan.

The Big Garden staff also put in 11 additional raised beds at Together Inc, earlier this week, for a total of 31 bed set to churn out tons of food for the pantry.

“It’s empowering because you know this food is going to people who really need it,” said Camie “Yesterday when we were over at Together that food line for the pantry, i was stunned, they were lined up around the block.”

On average Together has been serving 900 people a day since the pandemic hit.

“We’re approaching serving roughly, in 45 days, what we did in all of the calendar year in 2019,” said Mike Hornacek, President and CEO, Together Inc., not having access to fresh produce on their own land is a big deal.

“One thing that’s just critical in us keeping up is food supply and one of those sources of food supply is to make sure we have healthy produce,” said Hornacek.

The Big Garden has 20 community gardens across the Metro area signed on to donate produce to those in need this year.

“Every bit of food we can grow is going to be donated to those in need,” said Morgan. “I’ve never seen anything like this, this scale.”