Woodstock Volunteer Farm Expands

By: Kelly Creswell Email
By: Kelly Creswell Email

With things like rising gas prices and a slumping housing market, Americans are feeling the pinch in their wallets.

Local food banks are also taking a hit, forcing organizations to take extreme measures because their shelves may be empty otherwise. The Blue Ridge Area Food Bank reported serving 22-percent more people within the past year. Now the food bank is asking a volunteer farm to almost double it's acreage in order to produce more food to fill more empty stomachs.

"It's a problem and no one really knows at this point at how serious the problem is because it's kind of growing everyday," says Bob Blair, the CEO of the Woodstock Volunteer Farm.

That's why volunteers at the Woodstock Volunteer Farm are clearing the fields so crops can grow every day. The 28-acre farm provides food to the Blue Ridge Food Bank, but with the food supply shortage, the food bank wants the farm to increase its size to 40-acres.

"We're trying to increase the amount of production this year. We would like to produce something over 100,000 pounds of food and that is not going to come easy," says Blair.

In 2007, 2,300 volunteers helped out, but the farm is going to need even more help this year, or the farm's efforts to feed the hungry will be difficult.

"As a mother, I couldn't handle knowing that there are kids that I could see and touch that were hungry and I couldn't do anything about it. Tthis empowered me to feel like I could make a contribution to actually help those people, rather than just writing a check. So I think it's something that people can do no matter what their income level. They have a way to give," says Diane Spencer, a volunteer from Strasburg.

Not only will the farm need about 4,600 volunteers this year, it will need about $8,500 to pay for the increased costs of fertilizers and seeds for the 40-acre operation.

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