MEDFORD, Ore. – Avion Maloney looks on as a small group of volunteers digs through his back yard. When the little saplings bear fruit and vegetables, they’ll be hauled away.
“We’re going to give them back to people who need food – veterans, college students, people who are less fortunate,” said Maloney.
The garden is being planted, cared for, and completely paid for by P. Annie’s Secret Garden. The non-profit, only in its first planting season, relies on small back yards like Avion’s.
It’s part of what they call paying it forward.
“Those that are more fortunate, I think it’s really important that we reach out and help those that are less fortunate,” said the organization’s founder, Brooke Sanders.
The idea of lending your land to the cause is Sanders’ brainchild. As a member of a military family, she says it was the best thing she could think of to help veterans who have been left behind.
Right now the organization has two gardens, producing enough food to feed 100-300 people. Everything from the seeds themselves, to the water, to the labor, is being paid for by Sanders’ savings.
Getting more people to lend land, and the money to manage it, will be the next step.
“It is a tall task. This is what this is about, this is a call out to the community to come forth and help us,” said Sanders.
The only direct benefit, aside from the free landscaping, is a small fruit tree left behind. But Maloney, who often comes out to water the garden on his own time, says the cause alone is enough reward.
“It’s really a good feeling when you get to give back to people who are less fortunate.”
The organization is still awaiting their 503(c) status. They also say they’re in talks with multiple land owners in the area to expand their gardens.
For more information on how to help or how to benefit visit the organization’s Facebook page.