Bucks Knocks Out Hunger is coming up on June 20th! Over the next few weeks, our blog will feature stories, articles and news from our BKO Hunger partners to highlight their work and demonstrate the impact that the project will have on our community. Below is the story of Hope of The Harvest, the brainchild of a DelVal student, to help feed people in need in Bucks County.
Students come to Delaware Valley College’s campus to earn degrees in a wide range of fields, but that’s not the only thing our students do. In their time here, many of our students discover something in the world that they want to change – something they want to improve.
A Kid With Concern
Zach Gihorski ’12, was one of those students as an undergraduate. When he learned how many people right here in Bucks County were facing hunger, the statistics did not sit well with him.
Zach asked Russell Redding, Dean of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, for five minutes of his time, to talk about what “we are going to do about hunger.”
That conversation turned out to be a lot longer than five minutes, and set some wheels turning for Zach. In 2012, he and a group of concerned DelVal students announced a project that would use college land to grow food for people in need. The project, Hope of the Harvest, is a partnership between Delaware Valley College, the Bucks County Opportunity Council, United Way of Bucks County, and Philabundance.
And as of October 2013, this partnership has produced 51,298 pounds of fresh, healthy food for people in need.
Growth of Hope
At its start in 2012, Hope of the Harvest was just one acre on DelVal’s main campus in Doylestown. In 2013, the project tripled in size to three acres, which are split between the Roth Center For Sustainable Agriculture in North Wales, Pa., and the College’s main campus.
Now in 2014, thanks to grant support, DelVal will harvest their first produce grown indoors in campus greenhouses. Growing food indoors allows Hope of the Harvest to provide pantries with fresh food after the traditional growing season ends, a time when it is difficult to get fresh food donated.
Getting Others Involved
Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon, which you can use to change the world.”
At Delaware Valley College, that kind of thinking is at the core of who we are. Hope of the Harvest is one teaching tool that we use to reinforce the idea that our students can and should be part of improving their communities.
“We want to have the students understand that they’re part of something bigger and that their energy, knowledge, and relationships are helping us all with a contemporary pressing issue, which is hunger,” said Russell Redding, DelVal’s dean of agriculture and environmental sciences.
We have big goals for Hope of the Harvest and it is a project that people both on and off campus believe in.
Our alumni, such as Tom Wakefield ’72, of Land O’Lakes and Jamie Haddon ’95, president and CEO of the United Way of Bucks County, are showing people that this project is worth investing in. Their diligent support has helped us earn $99,000 dollars in grants thus far.
Our goal is to reach 100,000 pounds of production per year by 2017. Help us get there! Spend a few hours of your time volunteering in the garden at Bucks Knocks Out Hunger on June 20 and, if you like it, come back and see us again. Every person who decides to support this project plants just a little more hope for those in need.
About the contributor: Annmarie Ely is the media relations and publications coordinator at Delaware Valley College in Doylestown, Pa. She grew up in Doylestown and lives in Quakertown. Annmarie loves to paint, draw, and spend time with her new niece Maya.