May 16, 2023 By Carol Britton Meyer
To help curb increasing food insecurity on the South Shore, Keohane Funeral Home will kick off the 2023 Plant.Grow.Share. program with free gardening workshops led by local organic farmer Jon Belber of Holly Hill Farm in Cohasset on May 23, 24, and 25 in Hingham, Weymouth, and Quincy.
The Plant.Grow.Share. initiative — a collaborative effort between Keohane Funeral Home, Interfaith Social Services, and the Weymouth Food Pantry — encourages local gardeners to help neighbors in need by donating fresh produce to local food pantries.
“The support for this program has been tremendous,” Joe Reardon, V.P. for Community Development and Advance Planning for Keohane, said. “It’s been an amazing experience partnering with Interfaith Social Services. The way they care for people is terrific. We also appreciate our partnership with the Weymouth Food Pantry.”
The program has positively impacted individuals and the community with the joys and benefits of gardening since 2010.
“With about 18 percent of Massachusetts residents considered food insecure, we are proud to be able to continue this community tradition,” John Keohane, Co-President of Keohane Funeral Home, said. “Plant.Grow.Share. is for everyone — from backyard gardeners wanting to increase yields to grocery store shoppers willing to share with the local food pantry. We appreciate everyone’s participation.”
Free Gardening Workshops
This year’s three free 60-minute workshops will focus on home gardening techniques. Each attendee will receive a vegetable seedling from Holly Hill Farm, donated by Keohane Funeral Home. “What we ask is that when the vegetables ripen, some of the produce is donated to a local food pantry,” Reardon said. “We often think of canned goods when it comes to food donations, so to be able to also offer fresh fruit and vegetables is tremendous.”
The workshops will take place on the following dates and locations:
- Tuesday, May 23, at 6:30 p.m. at Hingham Public Library, 66 Leavitt St., Hingham.
- Wednesday, May 24, at 6:30 p.m. at the Tufts Library, 46 Broad St., Weymouth.
- Thursday, May 25, at 12:30 p.m. at the Kennedy Senior Center, 440 E. Squantum St., Quincy.
Those wishing to participate are asked to RSVP to email@example.com or 1-800-KEOHANE, indicating which workshop they would like to attend.
Free seedlings will also be given out to Weymouth Food Pantry patrons as well as gardening clubs, the Quincy Police Department, and other groups. The intention is for people to nurture vegetables at home and share the bounty with local food pantries at Interfaith Social Services in Quincy and at the Weymouth Food Pantry.
“We’re always looking for new groups to partner with us,” Reardon said, noting that a number of Interfaith volunteers and financial supporters come from Hingham.
Those who attend the workshops “will definitely benefit from the expertise of Farmer Jon Belber,” said Rick Doane, Executive Director of Interfaith Social Services. “We are grateful to have his extensive knowledge and teaching abilities to help our community grow more produce and share it with others in need.”
Everyone can contribute
Doane noted that produce donations are very important to local food pantries, which have experienced increased requests for fresh produce. While the Plant.Grow.Share. program encourages people to develop their gardening skills through free workshops, options exist for those who don’t garden. Store-bought produce donations, monetary gifts, and volunteering for local food pantries all help reach food-insecure households.
“We encourage community members to work with local food pantries to donate the items that they need the most,” Reardon said.
Small donations of produce or money add up. “If 10 people make small donations, we have quite a bit to share!” said Pam Denholm, Executive Director of the Weymouth Food Pantry. “Every donation brings our community together to help feed those in need.”
Learn more about donating fresh produce to local food pantries by visiting
- Interfaith Social Services — https://interfaithsocialservices.org/donate-food/
- Weymouth Food Pantry — https://www.weymouthfoodpantry.org/donate-food
Donated produce can be from a garden or the supermarket. Volunteers and monetary donations are also welcomed to assist with food insecurity throughout Quincy, Weymouth, and surrounding communities.
For questions or to donate to the Plant.Grow.Share. program, contact: Rick Doane at (617) 773-6203; Joe Reardon at (617) 773-3551; or Pam Denholm at (781) 635-7783.