National PAR Campaign

About PAR
Launched in 1995, Plant A Row is a public service program of the Garden Writers Association and the GWA Foundation. Garden writers are asked to encourage their readers/listeners to plant an extra row of produce each year and donate their surplus to local food banks, soup kitchens and service organizations to help feed America’s hungry.

There are over 84 million households with a yard or garden in the U.S. If every gardener plants one extra row of vegetables and donates their surplus to local food agencies and soup kitchens, a significant impact can be made on reducing hunger.

What PAR Does
PAR provides focus, direction and support to volunteer committees that promote herb, vegetable and community gardening at the local level. Then we provide training and direction to enable the committee to reach out into the community. Finally, we assist in coordinating the local food collection systems and monitor the volume of donations being conveyed to food agencies.

A Brief History
PAR began in Anchorage, AK, in the garden column of Jeff Lowenfels, former Garden Writers Association president. He asked his readers to Plant A Row of vegetables for Bean’s Cafe, an Anchorage soup kitchen. The program was so successful, he introduced it to GWA as a national program.

It took five years to reach the first million pounds of donated produce. The next million was reached in only 2 years, and in the next 8 years, more than a million pounds of food was donated each year. This is a significant contribution considering that each pound of produce supplements 4 meals.

Since 1995, over 14 million pounds of produce providing over 50 million meals have been donated by American gardeners. All this has been achieved without government subsidy or bureaucratic red tape — just people helping people.

In 2002, GWA established a supporting 501(c)(3) charity called the Garden Writers Association Foundation to administer and expand the PAR program.
For more information on PAR or the Garden Writers Association, please check out the Garden Writers Association website.