Everyone Should Have Access To Healthy Food
“At the Samaritan Community Center, we believe that our client families should not just have access to food but it should be healthy food of high quality,” says Jonathan McArthur, Garden Coordinator. “Those living on fixed or limited incomes often have to purchase the least expensive food items they can find, and these food items are typically not fresh vegetables and fruit.”
Utilizing an Americorp/Arkansas Garden Corp grant, the Samaritan Garden was established in 2014 on the Rogers SCC site. Utilizing additional funding from local family and corporate foundations, we have expanded the garden to 15,000 square feet including a commercial greenhouse complete with a hydroponic growing system to produce lettuce year-round.
“It has been wonderful to see the community support of Samaritan Garden,” says Debbie Rambo, Executive Director. “A local family chose to honor their matriarch this year by planting an apple orchard containing 36 trees in her memory. When mature, these trees will produce literally tons of apples for our clients!”
The fresh produce harvested from Samaritan Garden is cooked and served in our Cafes, and available to clients who shop our Market food pantries in both Rogers and Springdale.
In 2018, we will also begin distributing fresh fruit in our summer snackpacks program for area children. We expect to harvest in excess of 10,000 pounds of fresh produce this upcoming year.
Each April, Samaritan Garden grows a wide array of plants for a public garden sale including vegetables, flowers and herbs. Proceeds from this sale provide the primary source of operating funds for the Garden.