photo credit: Mike the Gardener
|Yes, you, as a home vegetable gardener can indeed donate your excess vegetable garden produce to those in need in your community. While that may not be earth shattering news by any means, coordinating it, at one time was. In steps AmpleHarvest.org to make sense of it all.|
|I recently had the opportunity to visit with Gary Oppenheimer, the founder of AmpleHarvest.org, and sit down with him to discuss how AmpleHarvest.org started, where it’s at now, and the future of this widely successful non-profit that connects home vegetable gardeners with food pantries in their community.|
What is AmpleHarvest.org and How Did AmpleHarvest.org StartAfter a confusing effort back in 2007 by Gary Oppenheimer to donate his own ample harvest to a local food pantry he came up with the idea of AmpleHarvest.org so other home vegetable gardeners would not have to experience the same headaches. The idea behind AmpleHarvest.org is to connect home vegetable gardeners that grew an abundant amount of fresh produce, with food pantries in their communities so that those in need can eat healthy.
How Many Food Pantries are Listed on AmpleHarvest.orgAs of the writing of this post, Gary says there are about 8,100 food pantries that currently participate in the AmpleHarvest.org program. Through various interviews, public speeches, appearances and so on, Gary and his staff were able to build the first 1,000 pantries in their database in just a few short months. Since that time, AmpleHarvest.org has really taken off, and that includes over 6 million gardeners that have used the site to find their own local pantry.
How Home Vegetable Gardeners Can Donate Their Excess Harvest Through Ampleharvest.org
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|AmpleHarvest.org is more than a listing of locations of pantries though. It also shows pick up and drop off times that are both beneficial to the home vegetable gardener and that of the clients that are in need and picking up the food. A process Gary calls “just in time” storage.|
How Do I Get My Produce to Families in NeedThe process is pretty simple. Visit Gary’s website, AmpleHarvest.org and type in your zip code. You’ll receive a list of food pantries in your area that accept fresh homegrown vegetables. They will also show you the drop off times. This is important because many pantries do not have enough storage, by having you drop your produce off a few hours before someone picks them up allows the food pantry to offer fresh produce to families without a lot of overhead.
Are there any vegetables or fruits they won’t acceptThis may differ based on where you are dropping off your homegrown produce. You will want to contact the food pantry first. Even so, I have never heard of any food pantry refusing fresh homegrown produce so as long as you follow their drop off schedules which you will find on AmpleHarvest.org.
|If you have a home vegetable garden like me then you too probably grow way more than you will ever consume or giveaway. Stop on by to AmpleHarvest.org, type in your zip code and get the information for your own local food pantry so you can start helping families in your own community with the fresh produce that you are growing in your home vegetable garden.
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