Grown@Pope is a project dedicated to increasing the availability of fresh local produce for food insecure households. The project is managed by the Community Gardens Program with support from Pope Farm Nursery and HarvestShare. Grown@Pope grows and donates fresh produce to food assistance providers (e.g., food pantries, community hubs). The project is located on a 0.2 acre plot (8,000 square feet) at Pope Farm in Gaithersburg, MD. As of January 2024, the Community Gardens Program, Pope Farm, and Grown@Pope have donated nearly 10,000 pounds of fresh produce.
Use practices that improve ecosystem health. This includes farming practices that prioritize building soil health, promoting pollinators, and minimizing harm to local waterways.
Improve access to culturally important, fresh produce. By building strong partnerships with food assistance providers, Grown@Pope hopes to streamline and simplify donation processes while providing communities with foods they want and are interested in eating. Grown@Pope also aims to reduce food waste by harvesting thoroughly and regularly.
Engage community members in farming. Having volunteer groups regularly during the busy growing season (May – September) allows Grown@Pope to demonstrate the impact of small farms and gardens on reducing hunger while involving more people in the local food system.
Grown@Pope grew and donated 2,500 pounds of produce with help from 36 individual volunteers and 14 groups. Volunteers spent over 1,600 hours at Grown@Pope.
Pollinator areas filled with native plants and flowers were added to the lot.
Compost bins were constructed and added as part of an Eagle Scout project.
Grown@Pope alone donated 1,265 pounds of produce. Volunteers contributed 845 hours to Grown@Pope.
The first Grown@Pope Crop Production Assistant was hired to help the Coordinator.
Grown@Pope, Pope Farm, and the community gardens donated 3,125 pounds of produce.
The first Grown@Pope Coordinator was hired to help manage and expand the program.
The Community Gardens Program partnered with University of Maryland students to further develop the Grown@Pope project.
Pope Farm grows pumpkins and gourds for programs across Parks. Due to the pandemic, many programs were canceled so Pope Farm staff donated over 4,500 pounds of produce.
In response to the pandemic, community gardens began donating produce to food assistance providers.