DeRiggi-Whitton Meets With Plant-A-Row’s Makofsky

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From left: Port Washington Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Bobbie Polay, Nicholas Center and Spectrum Designs Co-Founder Stella Spanakos, Plant-a-Row for the Hungry Chief Vegetable Garden Officer Marvin Makofsky and County Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton at Nicholas Center’s greenhouse. (Photo courtesy of Legislator DeRiggi-Whitton’s office)

Nassau County Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton (D-Glen Cove) recently visited three gardens and a greenhouse that are used by Plant-a-Row for the Hungry, Port Washington, to grow vegetables for families with food insecurity.

For more than 10 years, Marvin Makofsky, Plant-a-Row’s local founder and Chief Vegetable Garden Executive, has advocated for organic gardening as a tool to address local hunger issues. What began with large colorfully painted plant pots filled with vegetable seedlings that are “adopted” each year has blossomed into a huge operation with more than 40 volunteers and over 45,000 pounds of produce donated to date between Plant-a-Row, ReWild Long Island and individual family gardens.

During her visit, Legislator DeRiggi-Whitton and Makofsky discussed additional funding opportunities for this important initiative and noted the program’s broad and inclusive volunteer base during visits to gardens on the grounds of the Science Museum of Long Island, the Thomas Dodge Homestead and Helen Keller National Center.

When they visited Nicholas Center’s greenhouse, they spoke with co-founder Stella Spanakos, who discussed the opportunities that participating in Plant-A-Row has provided for their Nicholas Center Navigators, a team of young adults with autism who assist the community in a variety of ways. The youths planted seeds and cared for the young plants in the greenhouse until they were mature enough to be transplanted into open-air garden beds.

“Marvin Makofsky pursues his hunger-fighting mission in a way that creates wonderful opportunities for such a wide cross-section of our community,” Legislator DeRiggi-Whitton said. “Witnessing the enthusiasm these young people and their adult mentors have for Plant-A-Row for the Hungry gives me great confidence that they are contributing to a more compassionate, sustainable and inclusive future.”

“I am so gratified that, over the years, countless Port Washington organizations have joined with Plant-A-Row to fight hunger and find new ways to combat Climate Change,” Makofsky added.

Visit plantarowforthehungry.org to learn more about their work, including how to get involved. Feel free to also contact Legislator DeRiggi-Whitton’s office about this or any other topic at 516-571-6211 or dderiggiwhitton@nassaucountyny.gov.

—Submitted by Nassau County Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton

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