America’s Grow a Row is a New Jersey-based volunteer organization that grows food to be donated to food pantries. Through partner farms that donate land for crops and volunteers who plant, grow, and harvest the fresh food, America’s Grow a Row has fed a lot of hungry people since its inception in 2002.

It’s first year, America’s Grow a Row was a one-man operation. He knew there was a need at the Flemington Food Pantry, so Chip Paillex decided to donate food from his own garden. That first year, he donated about 120 pounds of produce.

The next year, Paillex gained a partner farm in Pittstown’s Peaceful Valley Orchard, and families from his church volunteered to work the land for the season. Thousands of pounds of produce were donated that second season and the organization has grown every year. By the end of the 2010 growing season, they had donated more than 1 million pounds of fresh produce to food pantries and those in need. In the last dig of the 2010 season, volunteers picked 7,500 pounds of potatoes alone.

Have I convinced you that this is an important organization yet?

If I have, then please take one minute out of your day, right now, to help. America’s Grow a Row is in the running for a $250,000 award from the Pepsi Refresh Project, and you can help them win it. Pepsi bases its awards on votes from people just like you and me. You can vote for America’s Grow a Row once a day, every day in December.

You don’t have to live in New Jersey to understand what important work this organization is doing and to want to help the group win this award. You just need to believe that everyone deserves good, healthy, fresh food. If you believe that, then take one minute today, and every day for the rest of the month, to vote for America’s Grow a Row.

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

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