getstarted Pilot Program Wrap-Up

Petaluma Bounty was excited to have the opportunity to work with getstarted to help facilitate their pilot program this past summer— a new initiative that sought to engage the help of local home gardeners to grow edible plant starts for Petaluma families in need. Petaluma Bounty helped by facilitating the pickup of over 300 start kits that were then grown by caring community members and dropped off at our First Annual Fall Plant Sale. The starts were then distributed, along with helpful growing tips, to interested clients at the Salvation Army and other Petaluma food pantries.

The initiative was a great success, including the number of home gardeners enthusiastically participating, as well as their responses to the post-activity survey. Over 90% would participate again and found deep meaning in the project. One gardener provided getstarted with the following thoughts regarding the pilot season of the program:

“I love to grow things and I think the concept is thoughtful because it is collaborative, caring, community building, educational, sharing, and easy.”—Petaluma Home Gardener “Starter”

On the recipient side, the starts and accompanying educational materials were received eagerly by food pantry clients— the majority of whom were Latina women under 60, with multiple people in their family households— and the pantries cited that getstarted’s efforts positively augmented theirs, expressing interest in repeat participation.

When asked about their experience, one client provided the following testimonial:

“It was easy, because it didn’t need much work and didn’t need a special place—my mother and I just had to put them in the ground. The only food it needed was water every day. The deer ate the lettuce, but we use the cilantro every day and didn’t have to buy any for a few weeks so that was good.” —Jacque

Petaluma Bounty was thrilled to collaborate with getstarted because of how closely this initiative intertwines with our vision statement to help grow a thriving local food system where consumers make informed decisions; and all people— regardless of income— have access to healthy food. This is one more piece in the puzzle to help push beyond the immediate demands of hunger relief towards community food security (and hunger prevention).

We have seen an unprecedented need and request for seedlings as evidenced by the increased demand during our Spring Plant Sale and responded with hosting our First Annual Fall Plant Sale, which also allowed customers to get 50% off with their EBT card or 30% off if they are low-income. Being able to include getstarted in our initiatives for the year is just another way Petaluma Bounty is trying to respond to the need and provide healthy food for everyone, regardless of their income. 

Special thanks to gestarted Director Cara Storm for providing us with detailed updates of the season and for the wonderful pictures. For more information regarding getstarted, please click here. To read more about the initiative and its involvement with Petaluma Bounty, please see this September article from the Argus Courier.

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