BOONE, N.C. — Places like the Hunger and Health Coalition in Boone feed around 5,000 people on a regular basis.
The nonprofit is trying to change the stereotype that food banks only have unhealthy food with a new program called “Plant a Row for the Hungry.”
Ben Loomis has a green thumb. He fell in love with plants at a young age watching his mom.
“My mother was a big gardener,” Loomis said. It wasn’t until he moved to Boone and started studying agriculture at Appalachian State that his love grew from a hobby to a job.
Loomis and his friends started Small Axe Farms at a home in Deep Gap. It’s a labor of love that will one day become their full-time jobs. As they wait for that day to come, their farm continues to grow.
“Some beans and tomatoes I’m going to plant today,” Loomis said. He’s planting rows that aren’t for sale and the profits won’t go to the farm. They are instead for the community. These rows will be donated as part of the “Plant a Row for the Hungry” program at the Hunger and Health Coalition.
“Both helping local farmers learn and build up resilience in our community at the same time and feeding the community when it goes out,” Loomis said.
It’s a program the nonprofit is doing to get as much fresh produce in the door as possible. The nonprofit provides the seeds for you to grow crops and only asks that you plant an extra row to donate.
The seeds can be picked up at the Hunger and Health Coalition.