It's hard to keep on truckin' without a vehicle.

So, Local Matters has turned to a crowd-funding platform to buy a pickup truck, which will help the nonprofit continue to cultivate vegetable gardens and its message of healthful eating.

Michelle Moskowitz Brown, executive director of the organization, said Local Matters has set a deadline of June 7 to raise $14,000 toward the $30,000 purchase of the truck.

It would make the organization's two-truck fleet whole again. One of the trucks recently was totaled after an accident.

"We need to move more wheelbarrows, tillers, shovels and soil," Brown said.

Supporters can donate electronically at local-matters.org and columbusfoundation.org.

It will be a typically busy summer for Local Matters, 633 Parsons Ave., just east of German Village.

The group has agreed to manage the 20-bed community garden at Aetna Integrated Services, 646 Parsons Ave., across the street from Local Matters' headquarters.

"This will produce a ton of food for us," said Jesse Hickman, project manager for Growing Matters, an arm of Local Matters.

The organization maintains 25 learning gardens, which are used for hands-on gardening demonstrations. The produce also is used in educational programming.

Many of the gardens are located at Columbus Recreation and Parks and Columbus City Schools' facilities and women-in-recovery centers, Brown said.

Food educators at the sites help kids and family members create healthful snacks and meals, she said.

"Local Matters is growing to meet community need and the gardens are one major way to connect people to good food," Brown said.

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary