Pantry gardens really are growing

Last week we wrote about three local food pantry gardens that were just wrapping up their growing seasons.

Turns out there's a fourth, too.

The new kid on the block is South Hills Interfaith Ministries, which planted its first food pantry garden this summer on the grounds of its headquarters in Bethel Park.

The 30-by-40-foot garden, dubbed "Boaz Fields" in honor of the generous landowner in the biblical book of Ruth, yielded more than 1,500 pounds of produce for the organization's two food pantries in Bethel Park and Whitehall.

Next year, the organization plans to expand its garden space by opening satellite gardens at local churches; Bower Hill Community Church in Mt. Lebanon was the first to sign on. The satellite gardens will be run almost entirely by the congregations at churches where they are located, allowing Sunday school children or youth groups to participate. South Hills Interfaith Ministries has applied for a couple grants in hopes of employing a part-time garden staffer for tech support.

Avid home gardeners and a certified master gardener who volunteered their time and took over the project opted to grow high-yield crops such as tomatoes, chard, zucchini, beans and herbs, allowing for multiple harvests throughout the season.

Groups that would like to plant satellite gardens next spring, and volunteers who want to help with the main garden, may call 412-854-9120. For more information, go to

-- Rebecca Sodergren:


Hot Topic