IN 2012, THEN 11-YEAR-OLD Devin Juros learned that 20 percent of the people in Westchester were struggling with food insecurity. He imagined creating a community garden solely to benefit those who couldn’t afford meals, and after two months of brainstorming, Devin went to his father, David, with a notebook filled with ideas.
Father and son developed a list of 500 potential supporters. After raising $11,000 and enlisting the help of 100 volunteers, in June 2014 they started building the 300-square-foot Pleasantville Community Garden at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Pleasantville. That first July, they harvested 30 pounds of peas and green beans and delivered them to Hillside Food Outreach. “That afternoon, the director of Hillside called to let us know that most of our first harvest was delivered to a mom with five kids who had no food in their house,” David Juros recalls. “It was very satisfying that our first delivery went right to someone in need.”
The original garden has since tripled in size, and they have added summer produce from gardens at Pleasantville Middle School and Pleasantville High School. Volunteers also collect between 100 and 500 pounds of extra produce weekly from the Pleasantville Farmers’ Market.
The produce goes to Hillside Food Outreach (Armonk), Neighbors Link (Mount Kisco), three A-Home houses and the Pleasantville Interfaith Food Pantry. Since the project began, 30,000 pounds of food have been donated; in 2016 alone, volunteers delivered more than 16,000 pounds of food.