WAYNE COUNTY -- It’s a beautiful time of year for fresh produce. Wayne County’s agricultural community is supplying a wide variety of amazing fresh produce to our local stores, farmer’s markets, roadside stands, and to the many Wayne County Food Relief efforts.
There is nothing better than biting into a freshly picked tomato or a salad made with everything fresh from the garden. It is so delicious that The Cooperage Project, The Wayne Library Alliance, and the Wayne County Community Foundation wanted to find a way to share the bounty. They’ve combined forces and put Community Garden Carts at the 7 libraries in Wayne County.
The initial idea started a few years back when home gardeners who patronized the library brought their extra vegetables/fruits in to share them with the staff and patrons. The former WCPL library director, Molly Rodgers, attended a conference and saw an idea for sharing veggies at libraries. She told the current director, Tracy Schwarz. She and the library team embraced the idea. They created a sign and put out a simple cardboard box, then encouraged anyone who wanted to, to leave what they had and take what they needed. It became a tradition. Several years later…enter a pandemic. What was a tradition became a necessity.
Agriculture and Food Program Manager at The Cooperage Project, Jenna Mauder, Executive Director of the Wayne County Community Foundation, Ryanne Jennings, and WLA System Administrator, Tracy Schwarz (pictured) often work together on community projects and boards. Helping people throughout this pandemic has been at the forefront of everyone’s mind, especially when it comes to making sure everyone has enough to eat. With a small grant request, these three organizations made the simple garden share box at the library into something with a far broader impact.
The Wayne County Community Foundation provided a $1500 grant to get the project up and running. The Wayne Library Alliance member libraries are supplying the space. All 7 libraries in Wayne County now have a Garden Cart on their property.
The cart is easy to find with the signage you see Jennings holding in the picture. You can help by filling the cart at your local library. If you are a home gardener with more than you and your family can eat. If you are a farmer with extra that you can’t sell fast enough. Don’t let those delicious vegetables go to waste. Drop them off at the community garden cart at your closest Wayne County Library. (The libraries are located in Bethany, Hamlin, Hawley, Honesdale, Lakewood, Newfoundland, and Pleasant Mount.)
Please alert library staff that you are making a garden cart donation. We want to say thank you and know where the donation came from. The libraries will put the donated items out for anyone who wishes to take some. Reminder to those partaking of items from the cart. Please wash and rinse the produce well. You assume all intended and unintended results from consuming the donated produce. Take what you need. Leave what you have. Share the bounty.