At the Oshkosh Area Community Pantry, an effort to bring more fresh produce to clients is growing.

It’s called the Growing Machine, and was purchased by the pantry through a grant from Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin.

“What we’re focusing on is nutrition this year,” said pantry Executive Director Terri Green, “and the growing machine is helping us to increase the production of fresh produce that we can provide to our clients.”

The machine can yield up to 600 pounds of lettuce a year. 

During the first harvest, 25 bags of lettuce were produced, and pantry officials say that they went quickly.

The next harvest is expected to take place in two weeks, and while there are currently three volunteers dedicated to the growing machine, officials say more hands are always needed.

“This is going to be harvested on site,” said pantry Program Manager Hope Schaefer. “Volunteers that are part of our nutrition committee or just want to be involved with our growing machine can come in, they’ll harvest it, they’ll bag it, and they’ll distribute it right out to our clients.”

If you are interested in helping out with the next harvest, click here for more information.

The pantry is also in need of volunteers to drive deliveries of food to the pantry, as well as volunteers to help with client registration and checkout.

The Oshkosh Area Community Pantry serves an average of 2,000 households a month, and is located inside of the St. Vincent de Paul building.