Great Garden Giveaway

Jun 20, 2015

PITTSBURGH (DATE) –Pittsburgh-based law firm Leech Tishman, the Office of the Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner, Grow Pittsburgh and Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank have once again joined forces to present “The Great Garden Giveaway”. The distribution schedule includes four sites throughout the city between May 30 and June 20.

The Great Garden Giveaway will provide eligible community members with vegetable plants and seeds in addition to demonstrations and guidance on how to successfully grow their own produce. The giveaway is conducted as part of the Food Bank’s regular “Produce to People” program, which uses Food Bank trucks and volunteers to visit low-income neighborhoods and provide produce and other fresh food to qualified recipients.

“With one in seven working Pennsylvanians facing underemployment, hunger is a big issue in our area. And it doesn’t get better when schools let out for the summer and families need to provide the lunches that schools would typically offer,” noted Lisa Scales, President & CEO of Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. “The Food Bank is dedicated to offering fresher, healthier meal options through our network of pantries and direct distribution programs,” said Scales. “What makes this program so exciting and unique is that it not only empowers our neighbors to grow their own produce, but it also gives people more control of their nutritional choices.”

Now in its fifth year, the Great Garden Giveaway has helped hundreds of residents to grow produce, whether for their own consumption, to share with neighbors and relatives, or to donate to their neighborhood food pantry for others to enjoy. In 2014, 86 percent of participants successfully harvested food from the plants and seeds they received as a part of the Great Garden Giveaway.

“Grow Pittsburgh is excited to be sharing the materials that people need to grow their own food through the Great Garden Giveaway. The tremendous success of this program shows what a significant impact growing food in urban neighborhoods can have on food security,” said Julie Pezzino, Executive Director of Grow Pittsburgh. “With one tomato plant yielding up to 20 pounds of tomatoes worth $60 in a season and 1 square foot of garden space yielding 1.5 pounds of produce each season, families can save a significant amount of money and eat extremely well by growing their own food.”

Representatives of Leech Tishman and the Controller Wagner’s office are supporting the program both by raising funds and by providing volunteers at the Great Garden Giveaway distributions. “LeechTishman is honored to again support Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank’s ‘Garden Giveaway’ program,” said Leech Tishman Partner Heather Heidelbaugh.  “At Leech Tishman, we recognize that hunger remains a pervasive challenge to our community, and we all want to help our neighbors improve their access to fresh, homegrown foods.”

At each distribution, qualified recipients will be offered various plants such as tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers, packets of seeds, and if needed, a bucket with soil. “We are proud to enhance the Great Garden Giveaway, once again, by helping to bring fresh, nutritious foods to our neighbors’ backyards,” Controller Wagner said. “Many County residents struggle with hunger and look to the Food Bank for help. Everyone in the Controller’s Office is happy to help make food and vegetable plants more accessible. It’s both rewarding and exciting to grow your own food and use it to cook healthy meals or to share with family and friends.” For more information, visit


Note to Media: For information only and NOT for pre-promotion

The four Produce to People distributions that will feature the Great Garden Giveaway will be held on Saturdays

from 10 a.m. to noon at the following locations and dates:

  • Southside: UPMC Southside Outpatient Center, 20th and Mary Sts.; May 30
  • Braddock: VFD #2 Social Hall, 845 Talbot Ave; June 6
  • Homewood: Homewood-Brushton YMCA, 7140 Bennett St.; June 13
  • North Side: Pittsburgh King School, 50 Montgomery Pl.; June 20

Media visits to distribution sites are welcome.