In the face of rising grocery costs, parents are getting creative and finding ways to stretch their budgets to make every dollar count.

One Southside mom, Ashley Altmeyer, is no stranger to gardening.Putting her skills to good use at her community garden not only feeds her family of three, but her neighbors as well.

Altmeyer’s grocery bill was skyrocketing and she needed to do something about it without sacrificing nutritious food. One day, she sourced free seeds from a local library to start her garden.

It started with a few plants for my family,” Altmeyer described. “It was just like a pineapple, a tomato plant and a pepper plant.

When shes not caring for her son, Altmeyer is tending to her garden, spending at least thirty minutes gardening these days since her produce isn’t in-season. During the summer, Altmeyer tells me she spends hours in her garden, moving plants around so they don’t burn.

Growing produce is all about trial and error, but Altmeyer assures its


an impossible task when your goal is to save money.

Now weve got five tomato plants,” said Altmeyer. “Weve got three pepper plants, weve got zucchinis and squash and beanstalks and broccoli.

Altmeyer was spending about $300 each week on groceries before starting her community garden; now its around $75.

The produce was the most expensive thing that we were buying. So, getting the produce out of our grocery budget gave us a lot more wiggle room with providing proteins and snacks and things that my son needs,” Altmeyer said.

In growing her produce and with help from the food bank, Altmeyers personal pantry is overflowing.

Altmeyer frequently volunteers with several local organizations to distribute food to the community. She tells me she started seeing her neighbors show up at the distributions, pushing her to do more to help.

She curbs food waste everyday by welcoming her neighbors to her community garden in her front yard called Ashleys Arrangements.”

Inside the pantry anybody can help themselves to anything thats in there at any point in time. Its all free,” said Altmeyer. “Theres eggs, theres produce, theres dried goods, theres proteins. You can feed a family of 20 off of whats in this box, at any point in time for free.

Borderlands Produce Rescue is hosting a P.O.W.W.O.W. (Produce On Wheels Without Waste) on Saturday, April 13 from 7 a.m. – 10 a.m. at the Sunnyside School District Office, 2238 E. Ginter Road. You can get about 70 pounds of rescued produce for about $15-20.