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June 22, 2015

Oswego County DSS Launches The Peoples' Produce Project

MEXICO- The Oswego County Department of Social Services (DSS) has launched a new initiative, The Peoples' Produce Project, to aid local residents. Four raised garden beds were constructed and installed at the DSS building on Spring Street in Mexico last month. These beds contain over a dozen vegetables and herbs.

"I am exceedingly proud of the efforts of the DSS staff to make this contribution to the community," said Oswego County Department of Social Services Commissioner Gregg Heffner. "The project is entirely staff-driven; funded by resources that they engaged and work that was done on their own time. All the team asked for was space on the property to create the project. Elaine Samson and her team should be applauded for this generous and creative idea." The harvest will be used to supplement clients' food boxes and local food pantries with fresh produce.

"This community garden will provide for peoplethroughout the summer and into the fall," said Elaine Samson, community service worker at DSS and project coordinator. "Small bags of produce will be available at a farm market stand outside the lobby of the DSS building for people to take as they wish. Any remaining produce will be donated to a local pantry on a weekly basis."

She added, "This project has been made possible through the generous contributions and hard work of many individuals and businesses."

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County helped with the design and placement of the beds and provided guidance on their content. Other supporters include Caster's Sawmill in Sandy Creek;Sturtz Excavating in Mexico; Leon's Farm Market in Mexico; Ontario Orchards in Oswego; and Oliver Paine Greenhouses in Fulton. John and Brennan Samson, Jennifer O'Connor, Adriana Ketchum, Marcia Birdsell and Jan Smith were all instrumental, along with the 30-plus people that donated to the start-up costs of the project.

For more information about The Peoples' Produce Project, call 963-5021.

FROM THE GROUND UP - Volunteer Adriana Ketchum helps to fill one of the garden boxes on the DSS grounds in Mexico for The Peoples' Produce Project. Photo by Elaine Samson.

Jan Smith from Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County; Marcia Birdsell, community services assistant with DSS; Brennan Samson; and Jennifer O'Connor, social welfare examiner with DSS all came together recently to bring The Peoples' Produce Project to life. Photo by Elaine Samson.

The Peoples' Produce Project has grown from the seed of an idea by Elaine Samson, community service worker at the Oswego County Department of Social Services. Photo by Elaine Samson.

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