ROCHESTER, Minn- Covid-19 has caused food insecurity for thousands of Minnesotans and a new burden on local governments.
This is why Governor Tim Walz announced Wednesday a 12 million dollars effort to combat hunger in Minnesota. It doesn’t stop there. The Community Garden at Autumn Ridge Church is helping to make a difference in Olmsted County.
About dozen volunteers picked veggies from this garden Sunday. Monday, the vegetables will be donated to half a dozen food organizations in Olmsted county.
Ken Dose created the garden with one of the pastors. They had the goal of giving back to the community.
“These three boxes are all cucumbers there all washed and ready to go to Channel One Regional Food Bank and Community Food Response,” said Dose.
When they started the garden five years ago, they grew just soybeans now; they produce 20 different crops. The garden generates 12 tons of produces a year. According to Governor Tim Walz, 300thousand Minnesotans have visited food shelves each month since the pandemic began. Food banks are distributing approximately 2.4 million pounds of food per week, representing a 20-40 percent increase since 2019.
"With the needs that the food banks have, they are looking for all kinds of support they can for families," said volunteer Jim Maher.
Maher and his wife Laura, volunteer at the garden three times a week. For them, it's a way to escape reality.
Maher says this garden serves multiple purposes. The garden brings fellowship and serving a need in the community.
"This is one of the pipelines programs is really crucial for them to survive,” said Maher. “The quality of the produces that they are receiving from this particular garden is admirable. This is the best produces they can find at any place."
While it might just be a hobby for these folks, they're helping to feed their neighbors. If you would like to volunteer please send an email to this address dirt@AutumnRidgeChurch.org