Grower wants to form a gardener’s association

Larry Limpf

For years, Prakash Thombre has viewed vegetables and other types of produce as not only a source of nourishment but as a source for learning.
He and his wife, Kyrmen, tend a 2-acre plot along Corduroy Road in Oregon, annually harvesting rare varieties of beans, gourds, grains, leafy vegetables and more.
Together they formed a non-profit organization, Educational Uplift of Minority, Inc. to offer an educational opportunity for underprivileged children, using their garden as an outdoor classroom. From the initial planting of seeds, to nurturing the plants without chemicals, to preparing them for the table, it all engenders a good work ethic and concern for the environment, Thombre reasons.
After 12 years of harvesting his garden and working with local food banks, he still sees a void between the excess produce raised by local gardeners and people struggling to make ends meet who could use nutritious produce.
To fill that gap, Thombre is proposing the formation of a local gardener’s association.
“I feel that there are several hundreds of gardens that produce fresh and good quality produce locally within our metro area,” he said. “This produce grown locally is not all consumed or put to use for the benefit of the community. In order to encourage gardeners and prevent such waste I am starting a gardener’s association. I’m hoping the community can give some input and cooperation.”
He said city officials have expressed interest and may provide space for the endeavor and he would like to work with local greenhouses and nurseries to reduce waste.
“I think what is lacking is a way of making use of this excess precious produce and keep it from going into the landfill. This source of good, healthy and nutritious food can be used in various ways by restaurants and families instead of the waste bins,” he said. “Generally, producers want to share with their communities, and each community has had enough zucchini, cabbage, tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, and similar produce.”
Food banks, he said, generally operate under regulations that would make it difficult to fulfill the role he envisions for the association.
“This is born of necessity,” Thombre said. “It will be a non-profit organization that will not charge any membership fees for the service but will be a go-between for the producers and consumers. No selling takes place, only free-will donations both ways, so that gardeners can exchange their excess with what they want and barter as to the exchange of the produce. We can make use of this surplus food and help the community.”
Anyone interested in discussing the association with Thombre should call him at 419-836-6300 or email him at


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