Garden & Gleaning Programs
HHFB's Garden & Gleaning programs provide locally grown, fresh fruits and vegetables for free distribution to those in need of emergency food assistance. Volunteers and community supporters are the most important asset our programs have; the more volunteers, the more fresh food we raise and rescue.
Volunteers are needed most during the main growing season, April through October. No gardening experience is necessary. Volunteers can schedule winter shifts, to help and learn about garden planning, and program development. Join us anytime during regular garden volunteer hours:
April through October
To check for weather cancelations or special volunteer events, including teen gardening visit the Garden & Gleaning calendar.
We also welcome school, church and other community groups. To schedule, please call Ryan at (812) 334-8374.
Download the Garden & Gleaning Programs brochure (757 KB).
Our Garden Program sprouted from HHFB’s ongoing effort to increase the quantity and nutritional quality of food provided to area food pantries and soup kitchens. Growing our own allows us to bring in varieties of fresh fruits and vegetables most needed at the food bank.
In 2013, we moved the gardens to Will Detmer Park. Monroe County Parks has generously granted us the long term use of 1 ¼ acres parcel of land along with a shed, washing station, irrigation, a large compost area, deer fencing, and the use of a tractor. Our organic garden, at 4140 W. Vernal Pike, is just a mile from the food banks main facility.
Our first year on the site focused on building soil fertility by cover cropping and adding tons of compost that we make on site. Along with building the soil we planted ½ an acre of vegetables yielding 10,806 pounds of produce! In 2014, over 400 volunteers planted, cared for, and harvested 22 varieties of produce totaling 22,900 lbs.
In 2015, we will continue using organic methods that increase soil health and plant productivity to provide healthful food. We will be caring for the first 5 apples trees at HHFB Gardens, donated by Bloomington Community Orchard, and offering some special programming with teens about soil health and organic potato production. Come spend a day at the park to help us grow tons more produce.
Volunteering in our garden is a wonderful way to learn and share with other volunteers and our Garden Coordinator about sustainable growing and organic practices as well as provide healthy fresh produce for those most in need.
Come for day or become one of the ‘regulars’ as we grow and harvest over 11 tons of produce from the HHFB garden and help increase community-wide access to fresh, nutritious foods.
- Training and support are provided during each volunteer session.
- Please dress for the weather, wear sturdy shoes, bring drinking water in refillable containers, sunscreen, hats, gloves if you wish to wear them, and anything else you need to take care of yourself outside. We play in mud and shine, but cancel for storms. See Garden & Gleaning calendar for closings.
- An assortment of tools is provided, but if you have your favorites, feel free to bring them along.
Why We Glean:
- 20% of all produce grown in commercial agriculture is lost because it is aesthetically not fit to sell.
- Perfectly edible fruits and vegetables are left in the fields to rot.
- This is significant in Indiana where 303,440 households are food-insecure.
Hoosier Hills Food Bank partners with local farmers and community volunteers to harvest excess produce. In turn, we have more fresh, local, and nutritious produce to distribute to our 90 plus member agencies. In seven years of gleaning we’ve partnered with six different farms and over 80 volunteers to harvest 150,975 pounds of fresh, local fruits and vegetables. Thanks to Harriman Farms almost half came in 2015.
We meet and carpool from the HHFB warehouse to farms, usually on Tuesdays. Call for details.
“My time in the garden was a healthy break from office chairs and fluorescent lights. Having that direct contact with the earth as well as the growing cycle for food helped me to think about what really matters in life. At the end of the day, knowing that I had contributed to providing someone with fresh, healthy produce that they otherwise would not have access to was incredibly rewarding. “
“It's a rare opportunity to find such dedicated and genuine people as those at the Hoosier Hills Food Bank. Working at the garden has not only provided me an outlet for community service, but a chance to spend time with kind souls. As a graduate student, I appreciate the chance to get outside and marvel at what the 1-acre farm is able to produce. As a member of the Bloomington community, I appreciate the chance to help provide for those in need.”
“I enjoyed volunteering at the Hoosier Hills Food Bank farm this past summer. It was wonderful to see rows and rows of vegetables, fruits and flowers grown throughout the season thanks to the expert planning and growing knowledge of the HHFB staff. From the many crates of kale, chard, carrots, melons (and so much more) I carried and washed for distribution, I can personally attest that HHFB is doing a superb job of providing locally grown fresh produce for our South Central Indiana friends. Besides thoroughly enjoying all things food/gardening/farm related, I have a strong belief everyone deserves access to fresh nutritious food to take control of their health. I look forward to being a regular volunteer at the new HHFB farm location.
See the Garden & Gleaning calendar for upcoming volunteer opportunities.
The HHFB Garden is located just west of Bloomington at 4140 W. Vernal Pike.
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Subscribe to our low-traffic email list and receive information on HHFB Garden & Gleaning volunteer opportunities and updates.To do so, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and in the subject line write: "Subscribe G&G e-mail list."
In addition to donating your time as a volunteer, HHFB Garden & Gleaning Programs can use your support in obtaining other things we need. Our current needs are compiled in an Amazon wish list.
Note: We in no way endorse any of these sellers, nor are we guaranteeing that these are the best prices, this Amazon list is simply an efficient way to share information about the products we could really use. Many of these items may even be available from a local retailer.
Check out this Garden and Gleaning video, generously made by Max, Frankie and Jennifer Vickers during our 2012 season.
For more information contact the Garden & Gleaning Programs Cooridinator at email@example.com or (812) 334-8374.