Every Wednesday in February, staff and volunteers at Ozarks Food Harvest gather to assemble Garden-to-Go kits. (Photo: contributed)

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The Ozarks Food Harvest Food Bank provides a partial solution to hunger in the Ozarks by distributing 5,000 Garden-to-Go kits to families as a way for them to grow their own food. 

The Full Circle Gardens program launched in 1999 by Ozarks Food Harvest Food Bank with only a small number of community gardens. This initiative led to an increase in fresh produce as the Food Bank currently collaborates with dozens of local partners, 39 produce donors and distributes more than 30,000 seed packets in the community each year.

Since 1983, Ozarks Food Harvest Food Bank has been on a mission to solve the hunger problem the community faces in southwest Missouri. Their website describes a partnership they have with charities across the region and organizations they serve throughout 28 counties in the Ozarks.

Each Garden-to-Go kit includes seeds for a flower, herb, and eight different vegetables, plus a seed planting calendar with links to gardening instructions. (Photo: contributed)

Several retailers, including Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company and Seed Savers Exchange, donated more than $2 million worth of seeds to the Food Bank to help make these seed kits for the month. 

“Our Garden-to-Go kits are another great way for us to help feed families by giving them the tools to grow some of their own food supply,” said Alexa Poindexter, manager of the Full Circle Gardens at Ozarks Food Harvest.

“We’re so thankful for our donors and volunteers that believe in our mission to transform hunger into hope,” Poindexter said in a press release.

Every Wednesday in February, staff and volunteers will assemble and package the kits. Each packet will contain seeds for a flower, herb, and eight different vegetables. Additionally, a seed planting calendar with links to gardening instructions and wallet-conscious cookbooks will be included in every kit. 

Additionally, the Food Bank has a surplus of seeds this year to share with the Springfield Greene County Library for their Heirloom Seed Library.

The Food Bank, with its network of 270 community and faith-based charities, will be distributing the kits in March. To obtain a kit, individuals and families are encouraged to head to the following places to secure one in Greene and Christian counties:

  • Boys and Girls Club of Springfield
  • Harmony House
  • Isabel’s House
  • Least of These
  • LifeHouse Crisis Maternity Home
  • L-Life Food Pantry
  • Crosslines – Springfield
  • Salvation Army
  • St. Joseph Catholic Food Pantry – Springfield
  • St. Joseph Catholic Food Pantry – Billings
  • Senior Age – Northview Senior Center

For readers who have their own gardens and want to donate to help in the fight against hunger, you can plant an extra row of vegetables. Once ripe, you can bring your harvest to the Food Bank. 

If you have a larger garden, farm or orchard, you can contact the Food Bank’s Glean team at fullcirclegardens@ozarksfoodharvest.org where they will harvest and collect your produce. 

Donation and volunteer opportunities for this season are available. Visit ozarksfoodharvest.org/volunteer for more information.

Dylan Durrington

Dylan True Durrington is a general assignment intern at the Springfield Daily Citizen. He’s currently a senior at Missouri State University studying Journalism and Mass Media. Durrington is interested in voice over, music, computers and broadcasting. More by Dylan Durrington