Cable operators that are hungry for a new way to nourish
their community relations can seek help from Home & Garden Television, which recently
signed on as national sponsor of the "Plant a Row for the Hungry" (PAR)
PAR encourages gardeners to grow extra food and donate it
to local food banks or soup kitchens. Carol Hicks, vice president of public-affairs
communications for HGTV, said the association recently approached the network for help in
getting the word out on a national level.
HGTV created public-service announcements for the program,
which were set to debut April 18, in time for "Earth Week." The network also set
up a Web page and an 800 number to direct subscribers to more information on local PAR
Hicks said HGTV will create test projects with cable
affiliates in Knoxville, Tenn., and two other markets this year, before rolling out a
national affiliate program next year.
In Knoxville, HGTV will plant a garden of its own at
company headquarters, and it will ask the local Comcast Corp. affiliate to act as a
drop-off point for food from community gardeners.
Operators will also be asked to serve on a committee to
help place related human-interest stories in local media and to seek participation from
local churches, schools and community gardens.
As an affiliate-relation program, Hicks expects PAR to
attract a great deal of interest because it's easy for operators and it allows
subscribers to get involved in their own communities without spending a lot of money or