HARRISBURG – The Hunger Caucus will establish and maintain a hunger garden at the Capitol Building in Harrisburg beginning this summer, according to Sen. Mike Brubaker (R-36).
The hunger garden will rely on volunteers to grow fresh vegetables to be donated to local food banks. Brubaker said the Hunger Caucus will work collaboratively on the hunger garden project with Hunger Caucus co-chair Rep. John Myers (D-201) and Rep. Dwight Evans (D-203), who originally suggested the concept at last month’s Hunger Caucus meeting. The governor’s office and the Department of General Services will also be working on the project.
The garden will be located on Capitol grounds adjacent to the Capitol Building.
“The hunger garden will allow individuals to donate their time and efforts to help feed hungry people in Pennsylvania communities,” Brubaker said. “I am excited about the opportunity to get started on this project, and I am hopeful that this highly visible plot of land will serve as a valuable educational tool to teach young people the importance of working to improve the quality of life in their communities.”
“I just love the fact that Senator Brubaker embraced this idea as a project for the Hunger Caucus and took immediate steps to make it happen here at the Capitol,” said Evans, who has a national reputation as an advocate for projects that provide fresh fruits and vegetables to underserved urban and rural communities. “I have assured the Senator, his co-chairman John Myers and the other caucus members that the hunger garden project has my full support. In fact, I’m looking forward to digging my hands in the soil and doing some planting.”
At a White House meeting earlier this month with First Lady Michelle Obama, Evans told participants about Brubaker’s work to establish the hunger garden, and he urged other legislators attending to do the same at Capitol sites across the country.
“Certainly, one of the prime functions of the Capitol Hunger Garden will be as a symbol of what can be accomplished in every community, no matter how far away it is from a farm,” said Myers. “Second, a number of people will benefit from the improved nutritional value in the fresh vegetables it will yield, and let us not forget that the time one devotes to the garden, whether you are young or old, would make for great exercise and get people away from in front of a television or a video game screen or from just hanging out on the streets.”
“We are very excited about the Capitol’s Hunger Garden and the awareness that it will bring to the issue of hunger in Pennsylvania,” said Central Pennsylvania Food Bank Executive Director Kendall Hanna. “Senator Brubaker, the Hunger Caucus, members of the Pennsylvania Legislature, and the Governor’s office are to be commended for making this worthy project a reality.”
The Rev. Amy Reumann, Director of Lutheran Advocacy Ministry in Pennsylvania, expressed the faith community’s support for the hunger garden.
“It will not only provide food for those who need it, but also provide a tangible reminder to the General Assembly of the Pennsylvanians who suffer from hunger and the necessity of wise policies that address the root causes of hunger in the Commonwealth,” Reumann said.
Individuals who are interested in donating time or supplies for the hunger garden are encouraged to contact Brubaker at his district office by calling (717) 627-0036 or by visiting the Hunger Caucus website at www.senatorbrubaker.com/hungercaucus.htm.