ANKENY, Iowa – The Agape Garden donates around 20,000 pounds of fresh vegetables and fruits to local food pantries each year.
Ankeny First Methodist Church started the garden about a decade ago as a mission outreach. The garden sits on about an acre of land behind the church.
Coordinator for the garden Mike Orthel said it is important to give back to the community.
“Everything we grow is donated to help with the food insecurity in the Polk County region. We donate almost all of our produce to the DMARC Food Bank in Des Moines, which then distributes it. I believe there is 14 different food pantries in the Des Moines area that they serve,” Orthel said.
The garden produces over 38 different types of produce. Some include: potatos, eggplant, cabbage, tomatoes, onions and more.
“They have not turned down anything that we have brought. In the peak of our season our harvest will be around 1,000 pounds twice a week. So that’s a lot of produce,” Orthel said.
Orthel said the church has around 25 consistent volunteers but can always use more help.
The goal for the garden is to grow over eight tons of produce.
The word “agape” comes from the Greek word meaning love.