Fresh is Best: The Food Bank Garden

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For obvious reasons, the speed limit is 15 mph as you climb up the hill through the campus of The Children’s Home in Winston Salem. Beyond the main buildings, the road turns to gravel, and as you turn into the Betty and Jim Holmes Food Bank Garden it turns to green.


It is a perfect spring day and spots of mud from a rain linger between the long rows of the garden. The garden boxes are overflowing with spring crops; deep green swiss chard leaves bursting off chartreuse stems, and snow pea tendrils fluttering in the breeze as they reach for the trellis. The larger field is tidily planted with cucumber and pepper starts, peaking up through slits in the row covers.

The Food Bank Garden boasts one and a half planted acres of rotating crops that are grown forSecond Harvest Food Bank. Last season, the garden grew 13,000 pounds of fresh produce for the food bank, which was then distributed to our partner pantries, soup kitchens and shelters in the 18 counties of Northwest North Carolina that we serve.

The garden uses permaculture and organic gardening practices as much as possible. “This food is as fresh as you can get,” says Ellen Kirby, who has been volunteering with the garden for nearly 7 years. “The quality is excellent, and because of this there is little spoilage, making it very cost effective, too.”


“From a nutritional standpoint, offering fresh fruits and vegetables is critical,” says Jane Anderson, Nutrition Services Supervisor at Second Harvest. “Individuals and families with limited resources, often aging adults and growing children, gain access to key nutrients that greatly benefit their health, energy and quality of life.”  You can learn more about Second Harvest’s Nutritional Services here. 

The benefit of a nutritious, fresh, locally-grown tomato to a child at risk of hunger cannot be understated, and these important healthy foods are far too often out of reach for families living in poverty. The Food Bank Garden project is also making important connections between local collaborations, environmental sustainability and Second Harvest’s change-work across the region.

Established in 1998, the Food Bank Garden is one of the older community gardens in Forsyth County. It is run by a team of about 30 core volunteers, who help to plant, mow, weed and maintain the garden.  “The commitment of our volunteers is amazing, we have so many leaders,” says Kirby. “Not only is the product important, but so is the process of planting and harvesting… a lot of community develops out of that.”

There are many opportunities for individuals, families and groups to get involved. Learn more about volunteering and the Adopt-A-Box program by visiting The Betty and Jim Holmes Food Bank Garden website here.

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#FoodBankGarden #ForsythCounty #WinstonSalem #garden #HealthyFood #freshfood #JimandBettyHolmes

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