The Madison Area Food Pantry Gardens, a 501(3)c is an all-volunteer effort, growing food for the Dane County food pantries for 20 years. Many of the current volunteers started with Emmett Schulte and Ken Witte 18 years ago. Efforts to replace leadership, primarily garden leaders, are ongoing. The garden project draws over 700 volunteers each year that come to till, plant, maintain and harvest the seven acres of vegetables and other edible crops. Most are one-time short experience groups of youth that pitch-in to help.
The generosity of the land owners that donate over 7 acres of land is very noteworthy. Five garden sites require transporting equipment from one site to another is inefficient and difficult. And new volunteers find it difficult to locate gardens.
The need to teach people, especially youth, about the source of food and how it is grown is very apparent. Hands-on working with plants and animals could inspire future generations of food producers. Improving food handling is a desperate need. Current gardens do not have packing sheds, refrigeration nor potable water for washing produce for distribution.
Mission: Feed the needy of our community with fresh, nutritious vegetables while providing knowledge on how food is grown and processed.
Purchase 20 to 60 acres of agriculture land .
Establish food pantry gardens with the goal of producing up to 100,000 pounds of vegetables and edible crops.
Engineer partnerships to build upon past and current efforts.
Acquire a building for preparing vegetables, work space, storage, break area and shelter.
Develop experiential activities such as mentor gardens, backyard poultry and handicap gardens.
Serve as a gathering place for people to learn the art of growing food.
Cultivate opportunities for individuals and families to garden.