From Concord to California, Read for Seeds Brings Us Together

This year, Gaining Ground was surprised—and delighted—to have a new school participating in our Read for Seeds program from far off in sunny California! Sixth, seventh, and eighth graders at Raymond J. Fisher Middle School in Los Gatos joined us in our Concord-based efforts to grow vegetables for folks without enough to eat. 

And we couldn’t be more thrilled to have their bi-coastal support!

Gaining Ground’s annual Read for Seeds read-a-thon provides funding for up to 70 percent of our total seed cost each year. Students sign up to read their hearts out and collect pledges for each page they read. The money they raise helps us buy seeds to grow vegetables that we then donate to food pantries and meal programs. Every page—just like every seed—makes a difference.

Students at Fisher Middle School learned about Gaining Ground thanks to Project Giving Kids, an organization that connects kids, teens, and families with opportunities for meaningful volunteer service. “Having been running a club at my school that enjoys doing community service, I was looking for something we could do to help in the fight against hunger,” said student Manon Raux-Moriwaki. “That’s when I remembered Gaining Ground, and Read for Seeds. It was perfect because it not only encouraged people to read, but it also helped raise money for seeds that would become [fresh food].” 

The past year brought unimaginable challenges and hardships for so many. Food insecurity in Massachusetts skyrocketed. At the same time, this period has fostered new connections and has inspired groups—like the students and Fisher Middle School—to think creatively about how to remain engaged and help others. “Due to the pandemic, we have had to be especially cautious about the type of activities we chose due to safety protocols in our county,” said sixth grade teacher Steve Waste, whose district was fully remote until the end of January.

“Everything could even be done online,” said Manon. “What’s better than that when we’re in the middle of a pandemic?”

At a time of isolation and separation, we’re grateful that Read for Seeds could bring the farm together with students from as near as Concord and as far as California. And we couldn’t be happier to see reading and farming uniting people together to fight hunger. “Even though it was on the other side of the country, knowing that we were creating change brought us joy,” said Manon. “We hope we can continue to help those in need, not only close to us, but also those that are far from us. Thank you for providing us with an amazing opportunity!”

“The literacy element along with the very specific mission of Gaining Ground was appealing to me as an educator,” said Steve. “The first time I saw the [Read for Seeds] video, I was impressed by what a deep commitment the program has to your community.”

With such incredible supporters, it is clear to us that this commitment goes both ways. We are so grateful for students like Manon and her fellow classmates, as well as those closer to home at Belmont Day School, Thoreau Elementary School, Tenacre Country Day School, and all of the individual students who participated in Read for Seeds this year. Through their hard work and dedication to reading and soliciting pledges, they have raised more than $10,000 toward our annual seed budget! 

This generous support helps us serve our mission of growing fresh, delicious vegetables for our neighbors without enough to eat. Thank you!

Photo credit: Tony Rinaldo Photography LLC

If you’d like to learn more about our Read for Seeds program, please go here.

Our farmers sent along a video with an update and a big thank you to this year’s Read for Seeds participants. You can watch it here: