July 21, 2009 by Robin Plaskoff Horton
Hungry Garden is a free new “geosocial” web resource for building and supporting local farm-to-fork food networks worldwide so consumers, restaurants, schools and institutions can find and purchase fresh local products and produce from local food sources within 50 miles of their location. Hungry Garden provides the ability to blog about a variety of topics, as well as barter and trade goods, services, or expertise with friends and neighbors. It is a cloud-based, Google Maps-mashup, micro blogging network, social network, and search engine designed to build regional “food maps” that represent all sources of local food.
Users will include:
• Home gardeners, community gardens, and small farmers of fruit, vegetables, and herbs, including community supported farms.
• Processors of garden products into storable food stuffs and meals, including restaurants, commercial kitchens, and home gardeners with expertise in canning or freezing fresh food.
• Producers of sustainable, organic meat and dairy products and other specialty food providers.
• Individuals and companies that sell products or expertise to gardeners and organic farmers.
• Consumers of fresh produce including local families, restaurants, cafeterias, schools, and institutions.
• Food banks, homeless shelters, church and community organizations seeking donated fresh produce.
Buy Fresh, Buy Local, Buy Right
The initial focus of the Hungry Garden Project is on connecting local food producers (farmers) with local consumers to build a more local, more sustainable food system. The second focus is on building network of citizen journalists that are interested in developing and sharing news stories in their local communities.
As the project’s founder, Brian Puckett explains, The Hungry Garden is dedicated to helping local communities develop and sustain fresh, locally grown food producers in, or near, their communities. It’s about connecting them to local consumers. It’s about people growing their own food, learning how to process and store fresh food, and sharing the bounty with organizations that work hard to feed the hungry –whether that be a church or temple, food pantry or soup kitchen, shelter or regional food bank.
The Hungry Garden is also about helping inner city neighborhoods to establish and cultivate community and urban gardens. Its about working to eliminate food ‘deserts’ in our inner cities. It’s for teaching children about where good food comes from, and what it takes to grow it, hands-on right in their own school’s vegetable gardens. Its about reducing the use of fossil foods in our food production and transportation industries and returning to a more ecologically sound, sun-based, agriculture wherever and whenever we can. It’s about sharing and caring and helping new gardeners to grow their own food and teaching them how to properly save and store fresh food for later use.
The Hungry Garden is about advocacy and education. Advocacy for fair, sensible and equitable policy and regulation of home and small local food producers and processors. Advocacy for better food in our schools and institutions that care for all our children, neighbors and parents.
Hungry Garden software is currently in beta testing but in approximately 60 days, we plan to integrate it into this site, allowing gardeners visiting us to communicate and share with each other. Stay tuned!