I’m a wanna-be gardener. The few times I have made attempts I either get one plant that overtakes the garden or I can’t tell the weeds from the real plants until it is too late. I do enjoy the fall when boxes of cucumbers, tomatoes and squash appear in break rooms at work. I take a few while appreciating the work others went through to achieve the harvest and then thinking…maybe I will try a garden next spring.
Maybe next spring, instead of making a wasted attempt at a garden of my own, I will help out Hands for Harvest. This organization builds community and provides fresh produce for local food shelves by growing, cultivating, and harvesting crops on a volunteer farm. In 2010, the farm was located in Green Isle, MN (just a bit west of the Twin Cities metro area).
Hands for Harvest began as the senior year internship project for Travis Dahlke and turned into a non-profit organization. Individuals and groups, from ages 3 to age 75, have volunteered with them. They began in 2009 and harvested over 12,000 pounds of potatoes on just one acre of donated land. This was accomplished with a minimal budget and over 200 volunteers.
In October 2010, co-founders Travis Dahlke and Nathan Dahlke received the Service Award from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN for their work with Hands for Harvest.
How can you help?
- In the spring, you may contribute seed potatoes or contact them for other needed donations.
- They also depend on volunteers to plant in the spring and harvest and box up produce in the fall. Co-founder Travis Dahlke says, “The donation of your time is the most valuable resource you can contribute! Please consider volunteering with us today!!”
- Hands for Harvest is looking for opportunities to grow crops in and around the Twin Cities metro area. If you have an open lot from a ¼ acre to an acre in size that you would be willing to donate, please let them know!