March 24, 2022

Nurseries donate to address food insecurity through ‘Plant a Better Tomorrow’ program

As published on
NEWS PROVIDED BY Riverbend Nursery

Mar 24, 2022, 11:15 ET

BLUE RIDGE MOUNTAINS, Va., March 24, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Select nonprofits addressing food insecurity in the Southeast are receiving a “Spring kick-off” donation between $1,000 and $2,500 thanks to gardeners in their regions buying 2021 Blue Ridge Grown starter herb and vegetable plants.

Gardeners who enjoy plants from the "Plant a Better Tomorrow" program help alleviate food insecurity in their local region, as the nurseries involved dedicate a portion of sales for each plant to local nonprofits.
Gardeners who enjoy plants from the “Plant a Better Tomorrow” program help alleviate food insecurity in their local region, as the nurseries involved dedicate a portion of sales for each plant to local nonprofits.

The donation is part of a pilot program called “Plant a Better Tomorrow,” founded by Riverbend Nursery LLC, a wholesale grower headquartered in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains.  Retail nurseries and Riverbend contribute a portion of sales of every plant sold in the Blue Ridge Grown “Plant a Better Tomorrow” line to help allay food insecurity locally where these plants are purchased.

The “Plant a Better Tomorrow” program is the brainchild of the Riverbend Nursery team. Riverbend has been selling perennials, herbs, groundcovers, and ornamental grasses for 30 years to retailers and wants to give back to its communities.

“When the pandemic hit and food security became an issue for so many, we wanted to find a way to help alleviate food insecurity and support fresh food access in addition to our mission of bringing high-quality plants to gardeners,” said Jonathan Cottle, senior vice president of sales for Riverbend.  

The “Plant a Better Tomorrow” program raised $14,500 in 2021. Donations are being made in Atlanta, Ga.; Asheville, Charlotte, Raleigh, N.C.; Knoxville and Nashville, Tenn.; and in Pulaski, Reston, and Virginia Beach, Va. Riverbend plans to continue and extend the program for 2022, according to Cottle.

“We are happy we raised as much as we did in this first season.  After our success in the 2021 season, we are excited to see how much more we can grow this program in the regions we currently serve and across the nation,” he said.

Nonprofits receiving Plant a Better Tomorrow Funds

  • Asheville, N.C. area: MANNA Food Bank
    MANNA helps more than 200 partner food pantries in the Mountain Area. “We are so grateful for the partnership and support of Riverbend Nursery,” said Olivia Onderlinde. “Every $1 donated to MANNA helps us provide enough food for four meals to our Western North Carolina community,” she said. [Olivia Onderlinde: | (878)-774-5746]
    • Area retail nurseries participating in Plant a Better Tomorrow
  • Atlanta area: Atlanta Community Foodbank
    “Every person touched by food insecurity is potentially at risk of its harmful effects, and hunger is an especially damaging experience for children,” said Kyle Waide, President and CEO of Atlanta Community Food Bank. “Our service area is expected to see a 66% rise in child hunger rates, so with this report we’re getting a very clear picture of the work to be done. Clearly the need is growing, and our future strategies will need to effectively accommodate the anticipated growth.” [Media contact: Lacie Manning | (630) 945-5535 |]
    • Area retail nursery participating in Plant a Better Tomorrow
      • Randy’s Perennials, Lawrenceville, Ga. (770) 822-0676
  • Charlotte area: Hearts & Hands Food Pantry
    “Thanks to ‘Building a Better Tomorrow,’ we have additional funds to continue and expand on providing two weeks worth of food, personal care items, baby supplies and pet food to the more than 5,000 families we serve and support. Hearts and Hands Food Pantry serves because we believe food is a basic human right,” said Kenya Joseph, Director. [ |(980) 292-0357]
    • Area retail nursery participating in Plant a Better Tomorrow
      • Dearness Gardens, Huntersville, N.C.  (704) 875-8234
  • Knoxville area: Second Harvest of East Tennessee
    Elaine Streno, Executive Director of Second Harvest greatly appreciates the donation. “Second Harvest and the communities where we live and work are blessed by so many generous individuals,” she said. “Each donation made helps Second Harvest fight hunger and feed hope for our East Tennessee neighbors experiencing hunger. A $1 donation to the food bank provides three full meals to compassionately feed East Tennesseans.” [Michael Torano || (615) 627-1606]
    • Area retail nursery participating in Plant a Better Tomorrow
      • Elder’s Ace Hardware, Chattanooga, Tenn. (423) 716-0784
  • Nashville area: Second Harvest of Middle Tennessee
    “This donation will provide 6,000 nutritious meals to children, families, and seniors struggling with hunger in Middle and West Tennessee,” said Nancy Keil, President &. “We are so grateful to Riverbend Nursery for including us in this pilot program, and for programs like this that help us provide food to the community through our more than 450 Partner Agencies. This truly make such a difference for those we serve.”  [Chanel McDaniel | | (865) 243-8211]
    • Area retail nurseries participating in Plant a Better Tomorrow
      • Gardens of Babylon, Nashville, Tenn. (615) 244-8949
      • Hewitt’s Garden Center, Nashville, Tenn. (615) 661-6767
      • Bates Nursery and Garden Center, Nashville, Tenn. (615) 876-1014
  • New River Valley Virginia area: Pulaski County Free Store
    The Free Store opened last fall and now is located on Main St. in Dublin — where food and gently used items are offered at no cost. The goal, according to co-founder Hazel Wines, is to make sure donated items don’t end up in the landfill and are available to those in need. The store organizers appreciate the support. “We believe that everyone deserves the dignity of a nutritious meal and every dollar donated helps to make that happen,” she said. [Hazel Wines | (540) 641-2822]
    • Area retail nurseries participating in Plant a Better Tomorrow
      • Crow’s Nest Greenhouses, Blacksburg, Va. (540) 961-2760
      • Poor Boys Produce, Pulaski, Va. (540) 599-2804
      • Slaughter’s Garden Center, Floyd, Va. (540) 745-9876
  • Northern Virginia area: New Covenant Food Bank, Sterling, Va. (703) 444-2323
    • Area retail nursery participating in Plant a Better Tomorrow
      • Reston Farm Market, Reston, Va. (703) 759-0000
  • Raleigh, N.C. area: A Place at the Table
    “A Place at the Table is grateful for this donation. Every $10 donation provide community and a great meal of choice to someone in need,” said Maggie Kane, Executive Director at A Place at the Table. The café is Raleigh’s first pay-what-you-can eating establishment. [Maggie Kane | | (919) 271-5797]
    • Area retail nurseries participating in Plant a Better Tomorrow
      • Atlantic Gardening Company, Raleigh, N.C. (919) 878-8877
      • Homewood Nursery and Garden Center, Raleigh, N.C. (919) 847-0117)
      • Logan Trading Company, Raleigh, N.C. (919) 828-5337
  • Virginia Beach, Va. area: Food Bank of Southeastern Virginia and Eastern Shore
    With gas and food prices soaring, monetary donations are vital to the Foodbank’s mission to acquire many of the items we have to purchase to provide clients a balanced diet, such as eggs, dairy, fresh fruits, and vegetables,” said Bob Latvis, Chief Operating Officer for the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore. “Through this donation from Riverbend Nursery, our Eastern Shore Branch will be able to provide approximately 1370 meals.” [Leslie Hart | | (757) 787-2557
    • Area retail nursery participating in Plant a Better Tomorrow
    • London Bridge Garden Center, Virginia Beach, Va. (757) 777-8204

About Riverbend Nursery
Riverbend Nursery is a wholesale grower of high-quality perennials, annuals, herbs, groundcovers, and ornamental grasses for retail outlets in the Mid-Atlantic States. More than 2000 varieties are produced, using in-ground, container crops, and heated and unheated greenhouses. Riverbend has two facilities, a 100-acre facility in Riner, Virginia, and a 40-acre facility 20 minutes away that focuses on LiveRoof materials.

For high resolution photos:

Family planting basil

Plant a Better Tomorrow marjoram plants

Plant a Better Tomorrow oregano plants

Plant a Better Tomorrow blackberry plants

MEDIA CONTACT: Steven Ronyak, CEO | (317) 490-2769 |

SOURCE Riverbend Nursery

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