Combining local agricultural with High Country food insecurity just makes sense — and it’s a sensible idea that Hunger Health and Coalition has been developing during the past six years. Today, nearly 20 farms partner with the nonprofit to help provide locally grown foods for those in need. This is a win-win for our community: Coalition clients get fresh produce, and local farms get a supporting partner.

During the past year, the nonprofit has seen an increase in the number of partnering farms joining the coalition during the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of this, Hunger Health and Coalition officials wisely chose to expand the initiative with staff members touring partner farms, and having partner farms in turn visit Coalition headquarters to learn more about what the organization offers — and how they can better fit into those plans.

Farms interested in joining the communitywide program can contact Hunger Health and Coalition, but individual gardeners can help, too. Another initiative of the nonprofit is its participation in the nationwide Plant a Row, a “people-helping-people” program that encourages gardeners to grow a little extra and donate it to food banks and soup kitchens serving their local communities.

Local gardeners with even a bit of extra produce in their fields can donate safely to the organization at its Boone office, 141 Health Center Drive, (No.) C.

Simply call ahead and let them know you are coming at (828) 262-1628 and they will come out to your car or truck and unload for you.

Currently, Hunger Health and Coalition’s food program serves only Watauga County clients — its pharmacy does reach into Ashe and Avery counties, as well — but donations from outside the county are welcome.

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