Gardeners at the Intergenerational Garden participated in the Grow-A-Row program for the Friends In Need Food Bank in previous years. (The News files)

Gardeners at the Intergenerational Garden participated in the Grow-A-Row program for the Friends In Need Food Bank in previous years. (The News files)

Grow-A-Row for the food bank in Maple Ridge

Friends In Need Food Bank in need of gardeners to produce fresh produce

Now that spring is here and those with green thumbs are busy in their gardens, those at the local food bank is hoping the bounty can be shared.

Friends In Need Food Bank executive director Mary Robson is hoping local gardeners can plant a row to help those most in need in the community.

Robson had been promoting the Plant-A-Row, Grow-A-Row program for at least five years at events like the Home Show and Pitt Meadows Day by handing out packages of seeds. However, she said, she didn’t get very much back in return.

In fairness, noted Robson, the program has grown over the past couple of years, but slowly.

This year, for the first time, the City of Maple Ridge Agricultural Advisory Committee will be helping out. It is holding an edible gardening contest, with a portion of the food to be donated to the food bank.

The theme of this year’s contest is ‘How does your food garden grow’ and participants will be judged on the quantity and range of food grown, the health of the plants, gardening practices and garden design.

June 30 is the deadline to enter, and the first 100 will receive a free bag of soil compliments of Triple Tree Nurseryland and Grow & Gather in Maple Ridge.

READ MORE: Maple Ridge residents get growing

All types and sizes of edible gardens are eligible to enter including: containers, raised beds, or in-ground.

To enter, take a “before” photo of the garden as soon as possible and send an email with the subject line “Food garden contest” to with the before photo, your name, address, daytime phone number and email address.

Each participant will receive an email confirming they have entered the contest that can be used to pick up the free bag of soil.

Prize draws for the contest will include gift certificates for local businesses including: Humble Roots; Hansel and Gretel Bakery; Triple Tree; Grow & Gather; Haney Farmers Market; and others.

READ MORE: Additional growing beds for Maple Ridge Intergenerational Garden

Grand prize winners will receive a $100 gift certificate to Triple Tree Nurseryland and a photo showcase by the city.

Judging will be done in August and will be in-person if permissible. If not, participants will be asked to submit an “after” photo of their garden.

Grand Prize Winners will be contacted after judging is complete.

And, Robson added, if anyone wants to participate in the Grow-A-Row program, she has little signs that can be staked into their gardens that say “Growing a Row for the Friends In Need”.

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