Shared Harvest

 People who read this blog know that one of my durable themes is people who make a difference.  Today I want to report about a small group of such people.


Shared Harvest is located in The Villages, an upscale retirement community sixty miles northeast of Orlando, Florida.  Here, Shared Harvest is a community garden. Its entire crop is donated to a dozen nearby soup kitchens, food banks, and churches.


Fifty ordinary people in need of a gardening fix­ volunteer to work two-and-a-half acres.  In 2011 they coaxed 23 tons of vegetables from the earth.


Shared Harvest of The Villages is a charitable project and should not be confused with Shared Harvest CSA (community-supported agriculture) projects elsewhere, whose mission is about nutrition and enabling local growers.


10 Responses to Shared Harvest

  1. This is fantastic. Thanks for telling us about it.

  2. D and A says:

    Dave L’s comment. TEST, makes me wonder Al if this, is a TEST. On election year everyone is concerned that they might show their true colors, that is their beliefs in how to move towards a better world for all. Here we have a chance to reveal to AL and his readers what we think. What do we think of this if it is done on a mass scale everywhere? In this country we have the successful intellectual capitalists who started stores like Trader Joes. There you can go and feel like one of the 1 percent for the time and buy a few expensive items and feel good about yourself. Some might think the people who eat this food should be the people growing it whereas others might say the people who shop at Trader Joes should be. I am watching Ann Rand’s movie adaptation of her last book Atlas Shrugged and thinking about this as I write a song today called “A place in the Sun”. I am very disturbed in this political climate on this election year. I like honest talk and love this BLOG.

  3. karen wittgraf says:

    I remember reading Ayn Rand’s “Atlas shrugged” in high school and I am an old timer. I was appalled by the insensitivity and cruel capitalism then- I’ll have to try to get through it again and see if I feel anything else.
    I think that this giving garden is amazing and we need to care and work for the less fortunate among us. This, ultimately, brings happiness to all that participate- and isn’t happiness what we’re after?

  4. dhbauer says:

    I find this discussion thread interesting since I completed reading Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged last night. From my point of view she made many arguments with which I agree and a few with which I am in disagreement. On the one hand, taken literally, I feel that her philosophy of Moral Objectivism is extreme in its orientation toward rugged individualism and blatant materialism. On the other hand, her arguments against moral relativism and post-modernism in general are strong. Knowing that she lived in Stalin’s Russia in her childhood helps to understand her strong stance against collectivism. Paradoxically, Rand also embraces the same materialism espoused by Bolshevism under which she lived during her formative years.

    With respect to the Shared Harvest concept, I think it a laudable effort by people who have time to devote to a massive gardening project designed to help many less fortunate people in the local community. Florida provides the ideal type of climate under which this kind of project can flourish. I say “Viva le Gardeners.”

  5. Michael says:

    Perhaps if “The Little Prince” had been more widely read than “Atlas Shrugged” we’d have more harmony in todays politics.

    Ayn Rand aside, this garden was a grand idea. Selfless service builds community.


  6. Dave L says:

    I appreciate this without the dogma of Ayn Rand, congratulating those working in the soil to effect an act of kindness – giving to those in need. Yes, there is an element of self-satisfaction that may work into the Rand philosophy but this is not a pursuit of personal goals, but a contribution to the greater collective life – which most concede is a bit higher order. These gardeners are leaving the planet a “better place” as they spread a neighborly tenor (and in Florida … well, that’s may be saying something ….)

  7. Pat Bean says:

    As always, your blog captures people at their best. It’s a great inspiration to the rest of us.

  8. Colleen Rae says:

    Thanks Al, for these photos and your blog. You have invigorated many of us to think about things more clearly.
    I read Atlas Shrugged in the 60’s when I lived in Berkeley and was involved in a community garden. and I didn’t like the book then;. I cetainly would not waste time reading it again. I kind of felt sorry for Ayn Rand as it seemed like she missed the point of living on this planet. This Shared Harvest garden is wonderful. May there be more like it.

  9. MaryAnne says:

    I’ve not read any of Ayn Rand and doubt I will after reading the previous blogs.
    It appears to me that Shared Harvest of the Villages is a loving, serving activity for folks in need provided by generous retirees with a desire to serve their fellow man and at the same time get their “garden fix” needs met. As one who has an annual veggie garden myself I can totally see myself involved it that project if I lived in that area. The detail demonstrated in the photos of the work and results tells me it is clearly an act of love. Thanks,AL, for sharing this honorable contribution of society.

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