“The produce is what I look forward to the most each week…you can never have enough vegetables!” exclaims Pennridge FISH food pantry recipient. That excitement and gratitude is the continuing drive behind Hope of the Harvest.
Who We Are
Hope of the Harvest (HOH) is a charitable garden that uses Delaware Valley University land to grow fresh, nutritious food for area food pantries. In the first year alone, HOH produced nearly 16,000 pounds of produce for people in need in the area.
Three years ago, one student had an idea of how he could contribute to the fight against hunger and how the University could give back to the community. Today, that idea is a reality. The garden allows us to grow, harvest, and donate thousands of pounds of fresh produce in a single season.
The Garden was started in 2012 with one acre on DelVal’s main campus in Doylestown, but has spread to three acres, between main campus and the University’s Roth Center for Sustainable Agriculture in North Wales.
Workers and volunteers harvest the produce throughout the beginning of the week, which then gets brought to a central hub for distribution among food pantries. Pennridge FISH is one of the 22 food pantries in Bucks County receiving a portion of the donations.
We help to meet the needs of low-income residents while educating our community about how their efforts can make a difference. As part of HOH, DelVal students and staff have worked with and educated elementary, middle, and high school students in Bucks County. We have helped with the planning and construction of small greenhouses and raised beds, and the provision of different employment training opportunities for individuals with disabilities.
Hope of the Harvest is a partnership between Delaware Valley University, Philabundance, the Bucks County Opportunity Council, The United Way of Bucks County, The Land O’Lakes Foundation, The Reinvestment Fund and The Lehigh Valley Community Foundation/ Pharo Family Fund.
Growing Over Time
Due to generous donations, HOH is able to provide seasonal produce throughout the year with the use of a hydroponic and aquaponic systems. These types of systems grow plants with the use of nutrient-rich water, allowing us to produce as much as a three-acre plot of land.
We are working to expand our spread by providing whole milled grains to complement the fresh produce. HOH set a goal of increasing production to 100,000 pounds of produce by the fall 2017.
How to Help
Donations contribute to the success of our project by helping to reach our short and long term goals. Continued financial support allows us to better serve the community. HOH has also been actively seeking funding via grants and sponsors.
Bucks Knocks Out Hunger is part of that support. We receive thousands of dollars through this program, allowing us to strengthen our support of local pantries with our fresh produce. Supporting BKO Hunger also supports Hope of the Harvest. You can also volunteer in the garden through BKO Hunger on Friday, July 24th. Sign up here.
Can’t make it that day? We have volunteers in the garden each Tuesday and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Sign up by contacting Eileen Albillar.
Unable to donate or volunteer right now? There are still plenty of ways that you can stay involved. HOH sends out monthly newsletters via email and shares updates on Facebook (facebook.com/delvalhoh), Instagram and Twitter (@delvalhoh).
About the Author: Katarina (Kay) Woronik is the social media and communications coordinator for Hope of the Harvest. She is a senior majoring in media and communication at Delaware Valley University and has a background and passion in agriculture communications and public relations. She will be working this summer as part of the horticulture team focusing on outreach and awareness of the HOH initiatives. She is a great advocate for the charitable garden and school and is excited to serve the University and the community through HOH. Email her at email@example.com if you would like to get involved with the garden.