The Foundation Committee and
Shared Harvest Garden

Recently I visited Shared Harvest Garden located at 400 Oak St in Lady Lake. For quick reference, it is behind the Wood Shop off Rolling Acres Road. Shared Harvest Garden is a nonprofit organization that produces and donates all their crops to charities. I introduced myself to Andy Hendricks coordinator of the garden and stated that The VHA Foundation Committee would like to offer support. Support he said! Bring me volunteers! The conversation with Andy led to another conversation at the Foundation Committee. How do we as a committee define philanthropy?

Philanthropy! Ph-lan-thropy is defined as “the desire to promote the welfare of others, expressed especially by the generous donation of money to good causes.” A later definition is “giving gifts of time, talent and treasure to help make life better for other people.” Finally, “private initiatives, for the public good, focusing on quality of life.” There are key words in these definitions, generous, time, talent, quality.

Andy and his crew have most of the essential ingredients for producing the 27,000 lbs. of produce they grow and provide for churches, soup kitchens, and other organizations. However, they are lacking one of the most essential ingredients. Help! Yes, they need the people ingredient. They need volunteers to help with the garden work on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday. The hours are 6:30- 9:30 am. Yes, that is in the morning! However, they are certainly flexible.

How can we help fill this need? The VHA has about 16,000 members. We are generous, we have time, talent and we understand the “quality of life” conversation. Many of us arrived here with gardening experience. All of us need to continue to bend, kneel, push, pull and socialize. We can achieve these goals at Shared Harvest Garden. I am not asking for us all to go every day, every week. I am suggesting we help one day a week for 2 hours. Perhaps your morning walking friends would like to participate is something new. This is the perfect opportunity.

We can solve Andy’s help problem.  However, this is not all about Andy’s help issue. Think about how this will benefit you! Having your hands in the soil, nurturing plants, and moving in an outside environment is good for the soul.

If you are interested in helping, just show up any weekday except Friday. Bring a bottle of water, a snack and whatever you need for UV protection There is no interview process. Whatever your talents may be, every pair of hands is appreciated.

This is another method of the VHA Foundation Committee promoting philanthropic opportunities. I urge you to join me as a volunteer at Shared Harvest Garden. If you would like further information, you can contact me at [email protected].

Peter Russell
VHA Executive Vice President