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The Food Bank of Delaware is donating support at its hunger relief garden in Milford

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MILFORD, Del. – The Food Bank of Delaware (FBD) is opening new opportunities at its hunger relief garden in Milford.

“Really innovative work”

There are currently three greenhouses and a packing barn on the newly constructed property in Milford. Funding for the project was supplemented by a congressional award of $84,548. The FBD applied for the funds through the office of U.S. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.).

The facility is expected to help support the distribution of nearly four million pounds of fruits and vegetables per year.

“We talk a lot in Congress about making sure we address supply chain issues, because that also affects our agriculture sector,” said Rep. Blunt Rochester. “Our food bank here in Delaware is doing really innovative work.”

Germinating support

Caroline May, director of the community garden, is excited to see the plants begin to grow. She says the greenhouses are the perfect place for this.

“It's a lot warmer here than outside,” said May. “They also provide protection from animals because they're fenced in. And finally they help with water. Plant diseases often arise from water hitting the leaves.”

All produce grown in the greenhouses directly benefits FBD and the people it serves. 75% will help fill the food bank's healthy pantry, and the remainder will be used to support other FBD programs such as culinary training and the facility's on-site cafe.

However, according to May, gardening is about much more than just growing healthy food.

“It shows people what farming can look like. “People see really big fields of corn and soybeans, and that's a really important type of farming, but our vegetable farms are never really that big,” May explained. “It's a much smaller piece of land, much better for inexperienced farmers is reachable.”

Larger image

Rep. Blunt Rochester says she also sees the bigger picture; She says programs like the garden play an important role in combating food insecurity and economic instability.

“Part of their mission is also to raise future farmers and expose children and young people who may have never been exposed to agriculture,” said Rep. Blunt Rochester. “I got to know some of the people who are being trained in areas ranging from culinary arts to logistics. This creates good paying jobs for individuals and then we just see the rich partnerships.”

Join us

May, who is currently the garden's only full-time manager, hopes more Delawareans will help out. She says the garden cannot be maintained without volunteers.

“If you are interested in volunteering, we have open shifts at the Volunteer Hub,” May said. “In an average volunteer shift, you can imagine doing a range of tasks, from helping make beds to planting plants Planting in the ground to harvesting the crops.”

To learn more about volunteering with the Food Bank of Delaware, click here.