COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS — Hunger never takes a day off.
As we look to help Feed the Need in our community, there's a sanctuary on Texas A&M's campus that's not only a place for taking in the natural beauty that surrounds us, but also a place that combats food insecurity in Aggieland.
"We hope it's an iconic place for us to be," Dr. Mike Arnold, Director of The Gardens at A&M said. "Sustainability is one of our goals and having additional sources of nutrition and urban foods available. We have demonstration gardens here the idea to be able to show residents what we might be able to grow in the Brazos Valley."
Every single pound counts toward ending hunger in the Brazos Valley and The Gardens help chip away at the food deficiency.
The Gardens at Texas A&M spans 7 acres, a solemn space for teaching, research and outreach.
"What we do is try and take those foods and give them to folks who can benefit from the additional nutrition and diversity in their diet and we do that through the Brazos Valley Food Bank," Dr. Arnold added.
Just in the last week, The Gardens donated over 120 pounds of fresh produce to the Brazos Valley Food Bank, totaling 500 pounds just in this growing season.
Dr. Arnold says the produce has benefited the Brazos Valley Food Bank since The Garden's roots were first planted on West Campus nearly 3 years ago.
"Hunger is here and it's not only hunger, but it's the type of nutrition available. Often times groups that have lower socioeconomic income can't afford some of the fresh fruits and vegetables that diversify their diets," Dr. Arnold added.
The Brazos Valley Food Bank, which distributes these fresh finds, says it's fortunate to have A&M in its backyard.
"All of efforts that they've put forth in their garden directly benefits the people that we serve and we are able to turn around and get that fresh produce as it was picked at its peak freshness and get it out to those who need it in our community," Ebony Knight, Distribution Manager for the Brazos Valley Food Bank said.
Knight says the need existed before the pandemic and will well beyond it.
"We want to make sure we have solid relationships with various growers, so we can sustain that produce and those produce donations, as well as other food donations throughout the entire year," Knight added.
"You always gotta be thinking ahead in the garden. It's not just what you are harvesting today, but what you are planning on harvesting down the road," Dr. Arnold shared.
"We have a wonderful community. Our community comes together all the time to make sure that we can rely on each another and that's what the Food Bank does. We make sure our neighbors can have the items that they may or may not have access to through their own means and we are able to help with one little part of that, with food," Knight added.
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