Subaru of America, Inc. and the Philadelphia Union today announced they will be donating 25,400 servings of organic fruits and vegetables to Chester, PA-area food banks over the next year. The fresh produce was grown in the automaker’s and soccer team’s Subaru Loves the Earth Garden for Good, the first organic garden at a Philadelphia professional sports stadium.
“Having access to fresh and delicious-tasting produce is vital for maintaining good health, but for many communities, fruits and vegetables are not easily accessible to residents,” said Alan Bethke, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Subaru of America, Inc. “Through our Garden for Good, we’re excited to help the Chester-area achieve more balanced nutrition with organic fruits and vegetables grown right in our very own garden at Subaru Park.”
“From the time the partnership was announced, our vision was for Subaru Park to not only be a name, but a symbol of commitment to our community,” said Tim McDermott, President, Philadelphia Union. “The Garden for Good is a large step in that vision coming to fruition by providing thousands of pounds of fresh, organic produce to the food insecure residents in our area. We are all stronger when we work together to help our neighbors.”
The Philadelphia region currently ranks in the top ten U.S. cities with the highest number of food-insecure residents. Nearly 12% of households lack access to three meals a day, a number that is expected to double as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many food pantries have experienced as much as a 50% increase in demand since the start of the pandemic, heightening the need for broad collective action.
The Garden for Good at Subaru Park, which is maintained by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and Subaru employee volunteers, is Chester’s first sustainable and organic garden. This project is part of PHS’s Harvest 2020, an initiative to combat local food insecurity during the pandemic. Harvest 2020, which was created in May 2020, brings together thousands of local gardeners and a collection of public gardens to grow and share food for families in need alongside of providing supplies and resources for people in underserved communities to grow food for themselves and their neighbors. During harvesting seasons, Subaru volunteers and PHS harvest produce every two weeks with a goal of producing 4,200 pounds of produce each year. The garden is intended to provide fresh fruits and vegetables for donation to food banks in Chester.
“The goal of PHS’s partnership with Subaru and The Philadelphia Union is to maintain, grow and harvest vegetables that can help combat food insecurity in the region,” said Andrew Bunting, PHS Vice President of Public Horticulture. “PHS understands that growing produce is one way to achieve our vision of increasing access to fresh, heathy food to our neighbors. We are thrilled to be able to support our local community food banks during this unprecedented time.”
In partnership with hunger relief organization Philabundance, produce from each Garden for Good harvest is scheduled for donation to food banks in Chester throughout the fall. With distribution from the Delaware County Interfaith Food Assistance Network, participating food banks include the Bernadine Center, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, True Vine Missionary Full Gospel Baptist Church, Chester Eastside Ministries and Better Living Center.
“We are seeing a dramatic increase—up to 60% more—of people accessing the charitable food network and unable to feed their families,” explained Philabundance CEO, Loree D. Jones. “Collaborative initiatives like Garden for Good truly make an impact on our neighbors in need by providing fresh, locally grown produce they may not have been able to afford otherwise.”
Subaru and the Union teamed up in February to embark on a multi-year stadium naming rights partnership that gave the name Subaru Park to the 18,500-seat sports and events destination and home of the Union. The two organizations are committed to supporting the greater Philadelphia community with charitable programs, including the Subaru Loves the Earth Garden for Good announced today, as an extension of the Subaru Love Promise vision. The pairing’s other endeavors include the Dogs of Ben, an initiative aimed at helping shelter dogs find homes in the Philadelphia area.
The Garden for Good at Subaru Park is part of the Subaru Loves the Earth initiative, which aims to make the world a better place through a commitment to protecting and preserving the environment. To learn more about Subaru Loves the Earth, go to subaru.com/earth.