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Nurseries Manna Food Bank

Nurseries donate to MANNA Food Bank
through ‘Plant a Better Tomorrow’ program

MANNA Food Bank in the Asheville, N.C. area is receiving a “Spring kick off” donation of $1,500 thanks to gardeners in the area buying their 2021 Blue Ridge Grown starter herb and vegetable plants from Jesse Israel & Sons and B.B. Barns Nurseries.
The donation was 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.  B.B. Barns, Jesse Israel, 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.
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.

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 to our mission of bringing high quality plants to gardeners,” said Jonathan Cottle, senior vice president of sales for Riverbend.  
Jesse Israel & Sons nursery is a family-run garden center in Asheville, N.C. that for more than 50 years has offered top quality trees, shrubs, annuals, perennials, herbs, and bedding plants. “We are excited to be part of the “Plant a Better Tomorrow program,” Alan Israel, Greenhouse Manager.
“Our customers like that planting a Blue Ridge Grown herb in their gardens helps with food insecurity within our community. It shows one small choice and action can be multiplied and help those that are less fortunate,” he said.
B.B. Barnes, located in South Asheville, has offered high-quality plants and landscaping for more than 30 years. “We are thrilled to participate in Riverbend Nursery’s “Plant a Better Tomorrow” program because it resonates so well with our company’s core values of Care, Grow, and Deliver,” said Brian Jennings, Store Manager. “We view ourselves as stewards for our community and environment and we see this program as a way to directly demonstrate how we put our words into action,” he added.

The “Plant a Better Tomorrow” program raised $14,500 in 2021. In addition to the Asheville area, donations were 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.
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.
About Jesse Israel & Sons
Jesse Israel & Sons is a 50+ -year-old, family-run garden center in Asheville, N.C. that features top quality trees, shrubs, annuals, perennials, herbs, and bedding plants. The garden center also offers a wide variety of fish and water gardening supplies, garden tools and accessories along with fountains and birdbaths, as well as the largest selection of garden seeds and bulbs in the area. Nursery specialists are always ready to help with expert gardening advice.
About B.B. Barns
At B.B. Barns, plants and people have been a passion for more than three decades. Located in South Asheville and covering more than 4 acres, the garden center is the go-to place for plant people and garden lovers in Western North Carolina and beyond. From their knowledgable garden center staff to their team of professional and experienced landscapers, they look forward to meeting garden and landscaping needs.
MANNA FoodBank is a private, not-for-profit service organization working to end food insecurity in the 16 counties of Western North Carolina including the Qualla Boundary. MANNA links the food industry to over 200 partner pantries and other human service organizations to get food to thousands of families’ tables. MANNA is an acronym, and stands for Mountain Area Nutritional Needs Alliance.



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

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