The Ohio Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) Eradication Program in Ohio started participating in USDA’s People's Garden initiative to grow fresh produce for those in need within our local community. One of our tree climbers started the garden at the Bethel office and formed a partnership with the Kitchen of Hope; a local food kitchen that has prepared food for hungry people since 2012. Although our garden was closed due to the pandemic in 2020, we have grown 729 pounds of fresh produce for the Kitchen of Hope since 2018.
Last year’s growing season was our first year having people from our office donate fresh produce from their own personal gardens, which I called the People’s Garden Challenge. This effort produced an additional 87 pounds of donated fresh produce. And it was also the first year we used a crop protectant known as kaolin clay. It was sprayed on the zucchini plants and helped to increase our zucchini yield by 363%.
As the snow blankets the ground we reflect and plan for the spring plantings and harvests. It is important for us to know the communities that we serve, and agriculture is about feeding and connecting with people. There is no better kindness than to feed our neighbors and those who are in need. Thanks to all those volunteers who have participated in the Ohio ALB People’s Garden initiative both past and present. Our success could not be possible without all your contributions. Looking forward to a bountiful harvest in 2022.