Spotlight: Theda Lyden

Theda Lyden
Co-Founder and Farm Manager at Growing to Give

Growing to Give is a food bank program at Scatter Good Farm. They grow organic vegetables using climate-friendly methods, and donate them to local people struggling with food insecurity through partner food banks and pantries.

Q: What is your job title and location?

A: Farm manager at Scatter Good Farm, home to Growing to Give.

Q: For you personally, or for your work, how do you interact with the local food system?

A: First, I reach out to our gleaning network to see what the recipients are asking for and utilizing the most. This comes before we order any seeds for the upcoming year. As the season progresses I ask for feedback on what we have donated, making adjustments if needed. Then, I oversee what needs to be harvested, how much, and try to help with staffing so the gleaning/harvesting can happen quickly and efficiently. We try to get the food to it’s designated location within an hour after harvest. 

Q:  For you personally, or for your work, what do you see as some strengths of our local food system? Weaknesses?

A: At Growing to Give it has been the building of community that I see as our biggest strength. Building our volunteer base and the connections that continue to happen through those volunteers allows us to grow and serve more of those in need. New concepts and methods of getting healthy food to people such as; the sharing tables, are important alternatives to the traditional food pantries. I see these innovative ideas as another strength. Weaknesses...awareness of the need that is all around us.

Q: What are the most important things that should be happening in the region to support increased production, consumption, and access to local foods?

A: Our state government needs to mandate that any government institution that receives state funds has to use a certain percentage of local foods, i.e. schools, hospitals. 

Q: What's for dinner tonight?

A: Well it’s grilling season so...grilled Margarite pizza and grilled cucumbers with tzatziki sauce. (To grill the cucumbers: cut in half lengthwise, add olive oil salt and pepper and just grill on the opened side.)