I came across an organization the other day that I know my readers will be interested in. Ample Harvest makes it easy for home gardeners and gardeners with community plots to share what they grow with neighbors who need it. Food pantries that accept fresh produce can register on the site, and gardeners can search by ZIP code to find pantries near them that will accept their donations. It’s a simple and brilliant idea.
The Ample Harvest organization and website was started when Gary Oppenheimer realized that many of the gardeners in the community garden he directed left a lot of produce unharvested because they didn’t need it. When he began to organize gardeners to collect and deliver this produce to food pantries, he found that it wasn’t so easy to find food pantries that needed it. They existed, but they weren’t easy to identify.
Oppenheimer realized that millions of gardeners across America faced the same challenge of finding pantries that would accept their excess bounty. He created AmpleHarvest.org to make it easy for gardeners to find food pantries that would accept their garden extras.
There are now 3,633 registered local food pantries across all 50 states. A quick search finds that there are 12 food pantries within a five-mile radius where I can donate excess from my garden. Since it’s early enough in the season, now that I know about this resource, I’m going to see if I can’t find a few spots in the yard to grow a little more, specifically to donate.
I also know of one food pantry in my town that’s not listed on the site that I’m going to tell about Ample Harvest. If there’s a food pantry that you know about that isn’t participating, take a minute and let them know about it, please.