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Get Your Hands Dirty for a Great Cause: Start a Raised Bed Garden

Did you know that the Chester County Food Bank is well-versed in the education and execution of raised-bed gardens? Imagine being able to participate in a thriving program that provides an excuse for some built-in therapy, courtesy of Mother Nature while growing fresh produce for food insecure neighbors within your community.

Gardens are powerful places for growing community, sharing knowledge and, of course, sharing food. The partner gardens play a crucial role in getting fresh produce out into their communities. Our garden partners collectively grow 40,000 pounds of vegetables annually for our network of food cupboards and meal sites.

What exactly is a raised-bed garden?

Wood-framed raised-garden beds, also called garden boxes, are great for growing small plots of vegetables and flowers. They keep pathway weeds from the garden soil, prevent soil compaction, provide good drainage and serve as a barrier to pests such as slugs and snails.

Where are the Food Bank’s raised-bed gardens?

With roots stemming from the Gleaning Program in 1997, the raised bed garden program was adopted by the Food Bank in 2009 with six partner garden sites, and has since grown to over 100 gardens hosted at schools, food cupboards and social service agencies. Our raised bed garden manager and garden educator work with host sites for their initial garden set up and educational support.

I want to help. Where can I find out more about starting my own garden?

We encourage home gardeners to grow and donate produce to your local food cupboard. Please review our best practices for harvesting and donating produce. We ask that you only donate quality produce – avoid donating bruised or overly mature veggies – no giant zucchini please!  Questions about donating produce contact Catie Hargraves, Produce Manager at or 610-873-6000 x125

If you don’t have a home garden, we invite you to join us for volunteer opportunities at some of our host sites.


When is a good time to begin my garden?

With gardening, any time is a great time to begin. Check out are gardening resources from container gardening, to building a raised bed, to our collection of tutorial videos.

You can also donate foodfunds and time to help us achieve our mission. Call (610) 873-6000 to speak to someone about getting involved. Thanks to you, we’re growing a healthier community.

The Chester County Food Bank is the central hunger relief organization serving more than 120 food cupboards, meal sites and social service organizations throughout Chester County. We mobilize our community to ensure access to real, healthy food. 

Ed Williams

NOTE: This post was originally published in March 2017 and has been modified for accuracy and comprehensiveness.