ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – If you’ve had trouble getting fresh produce at the grocery store or want a new hobby to fill your free time at home, you’re in luck. A local non-profit is making garden boxes, free of charge.

The coronavirus outbreak threw a wrench in many people’s spring plans. Workers at the non-profit Food is Free Albuquerque say they were no exception.

“We, like a lot of other groups and organizations, we had to cancel and reschedule a lot of our programming for the spring,” said Erin Garrison, Executive Director of Food is Free Albuquerque.

They provide fresh produce and accessible gardens for locals. With some extra time on their hands now, they decided to create mini garden boxes.

“We got a load of pallets and we played with it and came up with a recipe and we were able to start putting them together really fast,” said Garrison. “We just felt that doing something like this would bring some normalcy to folks and give people an opportunity to start growing their own food.”

Complete with soil and seeds, the limited supply of boxes give those at home the chance to get their hands dirty and take on a new hobby. Garrison says they’ll continue as long as the state order lasts or until they run out of supplies.

“We’re just going to keep making them and doing it as long as we can,” said Garrison. “We don’t really have a cap.”

Garrison says the gardens are just one way you can get active during this time full of ‘unknowns.’ She hopes they’ll bring some good stories along for the future.

“All over social media, there’s been a huge push. A lot of people are planting seeds right now. I think it’s a really good method to become a little more resilient. We believe that fresh food is a human right and we advocate for people growing their own food and learning how,” said Garrison. “What’s our story going to be when years from now, somebody asks what it was like. We have amazing stories to tell and our community has really just come together and we’ve seen so many amazing things happening in our community. I’m humbled and inspired by our community as a whole.”

The garden box deliveries will have a no-contact system. FIFABQ will let the recipients know a time frame of when it will be dropped off, wherever is most convenient for the person. The recipient can then move it to whatever spot they want.

Those who want to be entered to receive a garden box or pots and seeds can fill out a form through Food is Free Albuquerque.

UPDATE: Food is Free Albuquerque issued the following statement after this story ran:

Food is Free Albuquerque is committed to encouraging the social empowerment of people through the growing and sharing of fresh food. KRQE’s story on our homemade garden boxes led to an overwhelming number of requests for garden boxes, seeds and pots.

We are humbled by the response that our very small nonprofit has received. Thousands of community members have signed up seeds, garden boxes and pots.

Thank you to the KRQE team, and specifically to Jami Seymore, for connecting us with the larger Albuquerque community.

Please keep in mind that we are just a handful of volunteers building these boxes for people who are most in need. We are able to build a couple of boxes a day and are doing our best to meet the requests in as timely a manner as possible.

If community members would like to help us, we would gratefully appreciate donations. To donate, visit our Food is Free Albuquerque website or via our Facebook site.

To those of you who have already donated, we are grateful for your support.