Maine Harvest for Hunger

Master Gardener volunteer working in a "Square Foot" garden bed. Produced grown is donated to a local food pantry in Ellsworth.

If you are a home gardener or a commercial grower, consider planting an extra row of produce each year and donating the surplus to local soup kitchens and food pantries to help fight hunger through the Maine Harvest for Hunger (formerly Plant A Row) program.

Plant A Row for the Hungry is a national public service program of the Garden Writers Association, begun in Anchorage, AK, in 1995. It took 5 years to reach the first million pounds of donated produce and then only two more years to donate the next million pounds. Since 1995, 14 million pounds of fresh produce has been donated to help fight hunger in our communities without any subsidy or red tape, just gardeners helping others.

Maine Harvest for Hunger Program

Launched in 2000 as a volunteer opportunity for University of Maine Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Volunteers, the program is now active in 15 counties. Some counties focus on gleaning commercial fields, some Master Gardener groups grow and donate entire garden harvests toward the hunger effort, while others recruit backyard gardeners from around the area to participate.

The Maine Harvest for Hunger program is open to all interested gardeners and is coordinated through University of Maine Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Volunteer program.

Hunger in Maine

Why Maine Harvest for Hunger is So Important

  • 10% of Maine households, representing 141,000 people, are “food insecure” according to the USDA.
  • More than 40% of Maine children under the age of 12 show some evidence of hunger.
  • 19,325 Maine children are hungry.
  • Maine ranks 5th in the nation in prevalence of food insecurity.

What You Can Do

  1. Contact your local food pantry to find out what is most needed.
  2. Dedicate a row or more of your garden space to that vegetable.
  3. Harvest ripe, high-quality produce, clean it, estimate the weight of the produce, and deliver it to a local hunger organization.
  4. Report your donation total to the Hancock County Cooperative Extension office at 207.667.8212, 800.287-.479 (in Maine) or e-mail,
  5. If you are interested in participating in Maine Harvest for Hunger program, contact
Extension volunteers, in an orchard, gleaning apples
Extension volunteers Jill Ames, Jan Migneault, Tony Aman, Dotty Caldwell, Alilia Blodgett, David Struck and Connie Curtin gleaned apples for hunger relief at Johnston’s Orchard.

UMaine Cooperative Extension’s Hancock County office is now registering gardeners to participate in the Maine Harvest for Hunger program. If you are interested in being part of this program, contact Sue Baez at 207.667.8212 or e-mail

Do you have questions about vegetable gardening, garden pests, or preserving your harvest? Contact your local UMaine Extension County Office.