Garden clubs donate seeds to food bank and others in need

Garden clubs donate seeds to food bank and others in need

In early April, Rose Romboski discovered the District IX Garden Club Federation of Pennsylvania’s 90th Convention would be cancelled due to COVID-19. It was originally scheduled for the third week of the month.

As director for that district, Romboski received nearly 4000 packets of vegetable seeds for participants through a program sponsored by the National Garden Clubs, Inc. and Burpee Seeds. The seeds are part of an initiative to have GCFP Garden Clubs plant more vegetable gardens across the state.

She would not be able to see members due to the pandemic, but hoped to find someone who could benefit by receiving the seeds. Eventually Romboski was able to donate the packets to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank and to Grow Pittsburgh, Grounded and the City of Pittsburgh’s Adopt-A-Lot program. The garden clubs from District IX in the Pittsburgh area include Butler, Edgeworth, Fox Chapel, Greybrooke, Ingomar, Moon Twp., Shaler, Southern Butler County and Tusca-Ridge Garden Club.

Shelly Danko+Day is urban agriculture and food policy advisor for the City of Pittsburgh. She runs the Adopt-A-Lot program and works with Grow Pittsburgh along with Grounded. She was thrilled to receive a huge box of seeds, and will make sure the seeds get into the right hands and for the right reason. “Food is important, and being empowered to grow their own food is critical to people and their state of mind right now,” she says. “In the coming weeks and months, we’re going to see the need to grow food become even more crucial.”

Lori Diefenbacher is produce and agricultural Programs Coordinator for the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank and sees great value in all the seeds she’ll be passing along to clients. “As we approach our growing season this year, more and more families are unsure about where their next meals are coming from,” she remarked. “It is our hope that these seeds will provide families with peace of mind that their own backyards will be the source of a few fresh, delicious meals this season.”

For Romboski, it’s wonderful to see these seeds helping people in need. “I am thrilled, she said, that the seeds are going into willing hands to help cultivate them.”

Doug Oster is the editor of Gardening With Doug at

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