Erin Parker is chasing a big dream, one plant at a time. She started One Plant Project to help fight hunger and is asking the community to join her.
"I wanted to make it possible for as many people to do this project on a small scale that will make a big impact in the community," said Parker.
The 17-year-old first came up with the idea for a class assignment, but realized food insecurity was a bigger problem than she thought and wanted to do something about it.
"I'm going to do this,” she said. “I am going to get this done. I am going to do some good in the community.”
Her idea is simple. She is asking people to plant one plant and grow produce. She will supply the seeds or seedlings.
"We know everyone is not an expert gardener. It's pretty simple, it's not going to take someone who chooses to help more than five minutes a day," said Parker.
With help from a group of 15 volunteers, she will collect the produce twice a week and donate it to food pantries in Sturbridge, Brookfield and Wales.
"For a target goal of how much produce, we are thinking maybe a couple thousand of pounds," she said.
She is also asking local gardeners to step up and donate any excess produce instead of wasting it.
"My dad and I, we get one week in the summer where there are 40 cucumbers and we have no idea what to do with them, so just bring all your stuff down to us," explained Parker.
Parker starts distributing seeds to volunteers on May 22. She has more than 175 people signed up and hopes to reach a goal of 200.
She said anyone interested in getting involved should remember the only collection site will be at Tantasqua Regional High School in Sturbridge.
For more information, visit oneplanetproject.org.