Penn Valley, July 10, 2019 – BriarPatch Food Co-op donated 62 sweet and hot pepper plant starts valued at $170 to a half acre “farm” in Lake Wildwood run by an all-woman crew of volunteers who grow organic food for Interfaith Food Ministry (IFM).
On Friday, an all-woman crew of gardeners harvested 48 pounds of zucchini, cucumbers, basil and chard to be donated to Interfaith Food Ministry.
“We think that nobody should go hungry in this country. People in our community deserve fresh produce,” said Janet Jensen who has been volunteering her time twice a week since the farm started as a small garden on Alison Ranch Road six years ago.
Last year the group of women donated 3,200 pounds of food to IFM. The farmers are a mix of backyard gardeners and 3-4 Master Gardeners. The youngest of the “Garden Gals” is 63.
For the past three years, the women have come together twice a week to grow food on a sunny plot of agricultural land used historically as a sheep farm surrounded by the neighborhoods of Lake Wildwood. Owners of the property also donate water for the project. They share the land with a neighbor farmer who also donates pumpkins to IFM.
The farm project is also supported by Placer County Food Bank, Weiss Bros. Nursery, Eisley’s Nursery, Master Gardeners and Peaceful Valley Farm Supply.
Interfaith Food Ministry is a nonprofit dedicated to providing supplemental food to families in Western Nevada County. They receive no government funding and rely completely on dollar and food donations and the work of 450 volunteers to feed 175 families a day, three times a week.
Supporting IFM is important to BriarPatch. Last month, the store donated 15 cases totaling 300 pounds of organic butter. In July, BriarPatch will fulfill a request for three cases of organic white corn, a value of $103.50.
For several years, BriarPatch has participated in the Food Access Saturday Program, a partnership between Interfaith Food Ministry and United Way of Nevada County. BriarPatch supplies fresh, and local when possible, produce for 30-40 families through the program. In 2018, IFM served 7838 families, of which 2030 were children.