To feed the hungry, tie a colored ribbon round the old fruit tree

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDAugust 31, 2013 

There are several ways that people can donate their spare produce and fruit to needy people in Whatcom County. Now there's another way.

Claudia Sampson of Bellingham and some friends are unveiling a volunteer program they call Grandma's Ribbons.

"Our grandmothers taught us to help people in need," she said in an email. "We just need to share as we were taught."

The idea is that residents can hang ribbons on their food-producing trees and plants, from apples and nuts to tomatoes and zucchini. The ribbons will be a sign to hungry people, possibly a neighbor, that it's OK to take the produce or fruit home to eat.

"Because the locations are not being tracked and advertised, our hopes are that the food will go directly to neighbors," Sampson said. "Hopefully, if a neighbor sees their neighbor picking from their harvest, an inquiry can be made as to how else that neighbor could be helped."

Pieces of fabric are being made into long, colorful ribbons that people can pick up for free at several local nurseries starting Sept. 8, National Grandparents Day.

The nurseries are Bear Creek Nursery, 4999 Samish Way; Cloud Mountain Farm Center, 6906 Goodwin Road, Everson; DeWilde's Nursery, 3410 Northwest Ave.; Garden Spot Nursery, 900 Alabama St.; and Kent's Garden & Nursery, 5428 Northwest Drive.

People - who are welcome to make their own ribbons, too - can keep a ribbon on their tree or plant throughout the year as a sign of support, or put the ribbon out whenever the harvest is ready to be picked.

Volunteers willing to help sew ribbons should email grandmasribbons@gmail.com. Organizers are also looking for a print shop willing to donate services for brochures and notes.

FOOD BANK OPTIONS

Bellingham Food Bank has several ways that people can donate their spare produce and fruit to needy people in the community.

Victory Gardens - People can drop off their garden and orchard fare from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays at the food bank, 1824 Ellis St. Last year, gardeners donated about 40,000 pounds of produce.

Small Potatoes Gleaning Project - People with multiple fruit trees or large gardens can call the food bank at 360-676-0392 and a person will visit to make sure the produce and fruit is in good condition. If it is, arrangements will be made to have gleaners gather the food.

Last year, gleaners collected nearly 240,000 pounds of food from local farms and orchards.

GARDEN TOUR SEPT. 14

Speaking of gardens, people can tour up to nine community gardens in Bellingham from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14. The tour is free and open to the public, and there will be fresh produce at each stop.

Maps for the self-guided tour will be available at the Master Gardener booth at Bellingham Farmers Market, and online at Whatcom.wsu.edu.

The garden tour is the same day as the Whatcom County Farm Tour hosted by Sustainable Connections. For details about that, go to sustainableconnections.org.

FOLLOW THE MURAL

Bellingham artist Lanny Little remains hard at work retouching and revising the large outdoor mural at Fairhaven Village Green. If you don't get down there often, you can see photo updates of his work at fairhaven.com.

The Historic Fairhaven Association is sponsoring the project. To donate, go to .

Reach Dean Kahn at 360-715-2291 or dean.kahn@bellinghamherald.com.

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