By Dianne Ace
At the November meeting, members of Voices United learned about Shiloh Garden from Julie Wright, its Executive Director. Shiloh Garden, a community garden in Denton, was founded in 2011 by Gene Gumfory to provide food for hungry people in Denton County.
At 14 1/2 acres, it is the largest community garden in the United States. All the work is done by volunteers. Since its first harvest, these volunteers have grown and distributed over 340,000 pounds of fruits and vegetables. Every year the amount of food which is grown increases. In 2023, the projected harvest is 70,000 pounds with a future goal of 100,000 pounds. There are also chickens and a resident peacock at the Garden.
Food grown in the garden is sold or donated to various food pantries and food kitchens in Denton County. According to Serve Denton, 21% of people in Denton County experience food insecurity.
Friends of Shiloh Garden, which operates the Garden, is a non-profit organization and depends on financial support from the community to pay for its water, fuel and seed in addition to other needs as they arise. This year additional grow tunnels, used like greenhouses, were added to the Garden. In 2424, the Garden will begin its "24 in 24" program. They will be looking for 24 individuals to commit to donating $100 a month which has the potential to feed 6,000 people. In the future the group hopes to build a support building which can hold cooking and gardening classes.
Shiloh Garden provides an important service. Garden food allows the local agencies to provide fresh produce to their recipients while reducing their costs. Learn more about them at www.shilohfield.com.