Daniela Berry

Lenoir, N.C.

For 13-year-old Daniela Berry, the arrival of fall means it’s time to transition to cool-weather crops such as radishes and kale.

But Daniela’s after-school gardening isn’t just for her own dinner table— she organizes her county’s 4-H Plant a Row for the Hungry, a community service group that encourages gardeners to share the bounty. Young plants from the county correctional center, a high school chapter of Future Farmers of America, and the community college are transported to places such as Habitat for Humanity backyards, church gardens and Whitnel Elementary School. The resulting produce ends up at the county’s food pantries and soup kitchens.

Daniela also works with kids from Whitnel Elementary’s extended-care program in the schoolyard garden she initiated. Her favorite gardening task is teaching elementary students to plant starts such as cabbage; she and the students are both cheered by plants’ rapid growth.

Darlene Berry, Daniela’s mother, recalls that when Caldwell County’s Plant a Row project began, local vegetables at food pantries were unheard of. That idea has been turned upside down — last year, two county food pantries alone recorded 10,000 pounds of donated produce. — By Molly Moore


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