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A Letter from Chip – How many friends “Like” America’s Grow-a-Row?

April 2019

Dear Friends,

Though I greatly appreciate the dear and close friends I have – far beyond words could ever express – not once have I ever thought about the actual number of friends I have. And that’s because it’s always been the quality of my friendships that’s most important to me, not the quantity. Interestingly enough, if you do a quick Google search on the “average number of friends people have on Facebook,” the mean average comes in at a whopping 338. FYI, I fall short of the average. But truth be told, I was just as intrigued as you might be to find out what the average is! So, why was I asking Google this question? The reason I bring up this topic is because the other day I was reading through some of the notes that summarized one of our education sessions this year. Connie Miller, our Volunteer and Programming Associate, was telling a group of 4th through 8th grade students from an underserved area how America’s Grow-a-Row (AGAR) started. The kids were eager to learn about our early beginnings, so Connie explained how AGAR began as a small project that I started with my daughter Kyra, who was four years old at the time. Connie said to the students, “Then the garden grew a little each year, so Chip invited his friends to help out, and now we have around 9,000 volunteers each year.” At that point, one of the young boys shouted out, “Wow, Chip has a lot of friends!”

In Connie’s summary of the session, she wrote, “It just makes me warm inside to know that it’s true, Chip does have a lot of friends and so does AGAR!” What struck me other than Connie’s heartfelt comments was that Connie is right – not only am I blessed with genuine, reliable, and faithful friends, but so is AGAR! More than 9,000 “friends” per year support our mission by volunteering and/or making generous donations of all sizes that help us feed those families and individuals who are faced with hunger and food insecurity. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, one of the definitions of friend is “one that favors or promotes something such as a charity.” That confirms my thoughts and the reaction of the young boy, with a slight twist – wow, AGAR has a lot of friends! And those friends are the very reason why we are able to harvest and donate over 1.5 million pounds, or 6 million servings, of fresh produce to those who need it the most. My most sincere thanks to all of you for your friendship and support that helped turn a dream that started with a small garden into reality.

Have a great day and see you in the fields!


President & Founder


5 thoughts on “A Letter from Chip – How many friends “Like” America’s Grow-a-Row?

  1. Jennifer Nielsen says:

    You are a New Jersey, American and global hero, thank you for your contributions to reducing food waste, the #3 contributor to the climate crisis.

  2. Susan Kampschmidt says:

    Hi Chip! You are a friend to so many with what you accomplished with your servant heart and capable generous friends and family members! We will miss seeing you this Spring as I just found out there is no dinner at “The Barn” until Nov…. Dave and I and our friends The McBrides so enjoyed it last May! Hopefully will have a chance to get to the farm before that! Keep up the great work!
    God bless you,
    Susan K

  3. Katie Sapio says:

    Great letter Chip and so very true! Thank you for all that you do!

  4. Linda Oniki says:

    You are an inspiration to many for coming up with an idea to help others that directly helps people get healthy produce. You planted a seed and look how far your mission has helped so many in need. I hope you continue to thrive and make more friends.

  5. Deborah Miller says:

    Chip, I am happy to be one of your many friends!
    Debbie Miller

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