Share the bounty: Locals find fresh way of thinking about feeding hungry
Mar. 29, 2013 2:14 PM |
Danny and Ginger Demonbreun show off seedlings with Cindy Jones in the Demonbreun grow room. The room is a former den where they start some of their seedlings off before planting on the farm. 3-25-13 / HELEN COMER/DNJ
MURFREESBORO — The founders of Gigi’s Organic farming and a retired teacher have come up with a fresh way of thinking about feeding the hungry.
Farmers Ginger and Danny Demonbreun, along with educator Cindy Jones, are growing and distributing food to families who may not otherwise be able to afford good-for-you, nutrient-rich vegetables and fruit.
Ginger and Danny Demonbreun are from farming families and dabbled in organic gardening for themselves and to share with friends and family before turning to farming as a profession.
“We always wanted to work together. We like our hands in the dirt,” says Ginger Demonbreun, co-founder of Gigi’s Organic farming and Sinking Creek Farm. She and Danny run their organic farm in the middle of Murfreesboro on Battleground Drive.
Educator Cindy Jones pursued her love of gardening by helping students plant and tend gardens at Murfreesboro’s Discovery School before her retirement.
Her goal was to serve the fresh produce in the school cafeteria, but the USDA shut down that effort, she said. The produce was going to waste.
Then while looking through a seed catalog, Jones came across a “Plant-a-Row” ad that encourages people to plant vegetables and fruits for needy families. She realized the school had the food, but she wasn’t sure how to get it to the mouths of hungry people.
“I was wondering, ‘How are you going to get the food to the truly needy?’” Jones says.
Second Harvest food bank and Greenhouse Ministries in Murfreesboro offered the solution.
“Greenhouse Ministries will be the (donation location) and they will distribute the food,” Jones says. “Here is a means to get healthy food to kids and families who really need it.”
The Demonbreuns embraced the project as well and hope their customers follow suit.
Their farm has evolved over the years to offer CSA, community-supported agriculture, boxes. People pay the Demonbreuns to plant, grow, harvest and deliver fresh produce to them directly at home.
“We had things we tested and knew would grow really well,” says Danny Demonbreun.
The husband-wife duo plant a variety of vegetables and fruit. Their home’s den is filled with seedlings of cauliflower, greens, broccoli and tomatoes. Just recently a planting of raspberries had to be dug up and brought back in due to a cold snap. And they are happy to do it.
“You know, you used to know your farmer, your butcher, the guy who fixed your car. That’s something we’ve lost, and we have worked hard toward bringing back. We are like a small town within a big town,” Danny Demonbreun says.
“We want this to be a community thing,” Ginger Demonbreun adds.
Danny Demonbreun proudly shows off his thousands of red wiggler worms he cultivates for compost, which will be used to nourish plants. He also has local children fish for bluegill which he puts in the seedling holes, just as the Native Americans did generations ago.
The farm is certified naturally grown, meaning it is policed by other farmers of the same type who have not gone through the government process to become USDA-certified organic.
Members of Gigi’s CSA can now donate excess produce, or interested families can sponsor a plot and let Gigi’s donate the harvest. Schools that grow fruits and vegetables organically can also donate the produce to Greenhouse Ministries to be given to needy families.
“It can be two tomatoes or five bushels of tomatoes,” Ginger Demonbreun says. “It could be three tomatoes, two cucumbers and some greens.”
In addition to getting fresh vegetables and produce into the hands of families who need it, Ginger Demonbreun wants to offer workshops starting in May to help educate people on how and what to do with the vegetables and greens.
“It will be how to clean, store and how to use your veggies,” she says.
Jones hopes to raise awareness of the fact that Greenhouse Ministries will accept the organic fresh produce. She wants to see other gardeners bring their extras in and for more schools to start their own gardens.
“You can teach so much through the gardens, math and science,” she says.
link to article in DNJ here.
Click to read our story, as told by Daily News Journal reporter Nan De Gennaro