Local Law Firm, County Controller’s Office Join “Great Garden Giveaway”

Food Bank and Grow Pittsburgh Program Provides Seeds, Plants to Eligible Recipients

PITTSBURGH (May 20, 2014)— The Great Garden Giveaway will be even greater this year.

Leech Tishman, a Pittsburgh-based law firm, and the Office of the Allegheny County Controller have joined forces with Grow Pittsburgh and Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank to provide plants and seeds to eligible recipients who attend any of five “Produce to People” food distributions, May 20 through June 21.

“Now in its fourth year, the Great Garden Giveaway has encouraged residents to grow their own produce, either for their own consumption, to share with neighbors and relatives, or to donate back to their neighborhood food pantry for others to enjoy,” said Julie Pezzino, executive director of Grow Pittsburgh. “Now having added generous new partners, we are excited about the potential for this program to really take off.”

Representatives of Leech Tishman and the County Controller’s office are supporting the program both by raising funds and by providing volunteers at the Great Garden Giveaway distributions. Additionally, the County Controller’s office staff packaged all the seeds for the distribution.

Said Leech Tishman Partner Heather Heidelbaugh, “Leech Tishman is honored to be a part of Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank’s ‘Garden Giveaway’ program. Hunger remains a pervasive challenge for our community. Leech Tishman and its employees are committed to helping reduce hunger for our neighbors.”

The Great Garden Giveaway is conducted as part of the Food Bank’s regular Produce to People direct food distribution program, where Food Bank trucks and volunteers visit different low-income neighborhoods to provide food to qualified recipients.

“This helps people in need get more food than their food pantry might be able to order,” said Lisa Scales, chief executive officer of Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. “This helps us distribute food that we might have in excess or is perhaps time-sensitive and also helps many people who might not be registered at a food pantry but still meet the income requirements.”

The Great Garden Giveaway provides the resources necessary for area families to grow their own produce. All eligible food recipients will be offered a tomato and pepper plant, packets of seeds, and if needed, a bucket with soil for planting into at each of the distributions. “By doing this, we are enhancing the impact of the Produce to People distribution,” said County Controller Chelsa Wagner. “Recipients of these plants, seeds and other materials have the chance to experience how it feels to grow their own food and, eventually, share that food with their family, friends and perhaps others. Offering recipients the ability to grow food is intended to encourage a sense of accomplishment, enhance self-esteem and build community.” Additional Great Garden Giveaway sponsors include Organic Mechanics, Evey True Value Hardware and Johnny’s Seeds. Seedling sponsors for each distribution site include: Brenckles Farms and Greenhouses; Chatham University, Eden Hall Campus, Falk School of Sustainability, Master of Fine Arts Food Studies students; Garden Dreams Urban Farm and Nursery; Blackberry Meadows Farms; and Soergels Orchard.

The five Produce to People Distributions that also will feature the Great Garden Giveaway are:

– Sheraden: Pittsburgh Langley School, 2940 Sheraden Blvd; 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.; Tuesday, May 20

– Southside: UPMC Southside Outpatient Center, 20th and Mary Sts.; 10 a.m. to noon; Saturday, May 24

– Braddock: Volunteer Fire Department #2 Social Hall, 845 Talbot Ave.; 10 a.m. to noon; Saturday, June 7

– Homewood: Homewood-Brushton YMCA, 7140 Bennett St.; 10 a.m. to noon; Saturday, June 14

– Northside: Pittsburgh King School, 50 Montgomery Place; 10 a.m. to noon; Saturday, June 21