Plant A Row for the Hungry – Story County, Iowa
Launched in 1995, Plant A Row is a national public service program of Garden Communicators International (formerly the Garden Writers Association of America). Since 1995, over 20 million pounds of produce providing over 80 million meals have been donated by American gardeners. All of this has been achieved without government subsidy or bureaucratic red tape – just people helping people. For more information on the national program click here.
Story County PAR in Ames Iowa began in 2004, and volunteers have been fighting hunger in Central Iowa by collecting and distributing over 89,000 pounds (49.3 tons!) of fresh garden produce to agencies in the Story County area. We distribute produce to MICA Food Pantry, Primary Health Care, Salvation Army, Food At First and Bethesda Food Pantry. We have also contributed to to Ames Community School Food Service for the Grab-and-Go meals they prepare for families to pick up.
View helpful grower information for food pantry produce donations.
View the top 13 vegetables to donate to food pantries.
Donate produce from a home garden by dropping it off at the Reiman Gardens Maintenance Building on Mondays from 7:30 – 9:00 a.m. We also accept donations on the weekends at the Gardens’ Front Desk. Collection dates are June 25 – October 17. No collection Monday July 4 or September 5. There will still be Saturday collections on those weekends before.
For more information about getting involved, contact Kara Hetrick, Horticulturist, at 515-294-6797 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other ways to get involved:
- Collect left over produce from vendors at the Main Street Farmers Market at the end of the Saturday market.
- Help collect, weigh and distribute the produce to five local agencies in the Ames area.
- Assist with promotion through social media and local media outlets.
Gardeners in the community – 8,144 lbs.
Ames Main Street Farmers’ Market – 2,277 lbs.
Reiman Gardens – 2,415 lbs
TOTAL: 12,836 lbs
Bethesda Community Food Pantry is located at Bethesda Lutheran Church. The church provides the facility and utilities, but no budget for the food pantry, thus, it is supported by many individuals and organizations. Many groups regularly give to the food pantry, both financial contributions and donations of food.
1517 Northwestern Avenue, Ames, IA 50010
Wednesday 10 -11:30 am
Tuesday/Thursday 1 – 3 pm
Tuesday 6:30 – 8 pm
Mid-Iowa Community Action (MICA) is a private, nonprofit organization serving children and families in central Iowa.
230 S. 16th Street, Ames, IA
Monday – Friday: 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
Can be visited once every two months. Photo ID required.
Ames Salvation Army Service Center, located at 703 East Lincoln Way, serves all of Story County. The center serves in a variety of ways including housing and utility assistance, a food pantry, assistance with prescriptions and transportation. 515-233-3567. Story County residents only twice per week.
Monday – Thursday 1:00 – 3:00 pm
Friday from 1:00 – 3:00 pm
Primary Health Care Ames Medical Clinic, located at 3510 W. Lincoln Way, Ames. (515) 232-0628.
Farm To Clinic open Wednesday 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
The SHOP: 1306 Beyer Hall
Tuesday 12:00 – 8:00 pm
Wednesday 2:00 – 7:00 pm
Friday 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
Meet a Few of our Dedicated Gardeners
Susan Wolfe has been volunteering for PAR for several years and has given countless hours to the program for several years. She helps out in all aspects of the program – collecting donated produce from the farmers market vendors and assisting the distribution team on Monday mornings when they are short staffed. For the past five years, she has also been one of the generous gardens who grows and donates produce to P AR. She has a few gardens around Ames that she plants specifically for donation; she calls them the Garden Angel Project. One of these gardens is located near the Unity Church of Ames. Susan says this garden has “Guardian Angels” who live next door to the church who helped plant and care for the garden. Every year, Susan donates between 500 and 1,000 pounds of produce to Plant-A-Row.
Jim and Jeanne Roth plant a large garden and have been sharing their harvest with PAR for several years – they have donated literally TONS of vegetables! Last summer they donated 2,788 pound and this year they donated 7,255 pounds, which include a truckload of butternut squash!
Roger’s garden is a testament to the potential bounty a backyard garden in the city can yield. He grows a wide variety of vegetables and lots of them. Last summer he donated 1,015 pounds to PAR and this year he grew and donated 1,451 pounds!
Many thanks to these gardeners and others who share their produce with us so that we can help feed our community.