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Day 5: Sharing the Harvest with Others

1 out of 6 Americans need food assistance, but can’t get fresh produce from the local food pantry.

And each year, millions of Americans grow more food in their backyards than they can possibly use…We have the opportunity here to allow gardeners to reach into their backyards rather than their back pockets help their neighbors in need.


Day 5 - AmpleHarvest.orgDay 5:

If you are a gardener that grows food, at some point you end up with more food than you can possibly consume. I write a lot about canning and preserving that harvest and that is a great way to prevent waste. By preserving, you save the harvest for later and/or share it with friends.

But there is another way you can prevent waste and help others at the same time. Give your extra produce to a local food pantry.

I know this sounds simple. But it really is not.

See, most food pantries don’t deal in fresh produce. They only give away boxed and canned goods. It makes sense for them to do this. It is easy to store mass amounts of canned goods, easy to donate and it is easy to transport that way. But the down side is that people in need end up eating almost all processed food that is high is sugar and salt and…well, you know.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could take some of the unused produce from backyard gardens and share it with the people needing it most at food pantries? But how?

Well that is preciously what Gary Oppenheimer thought. He is the the founder of An organization working to make that connection. Not all food pantries will accept donations of homegrown produce. But Gary is working hard to not only educate pantries on the logistics of collecting and distributing fresh produce but also help backyard gardeners find locations to donate to.

It’s a great thing.

Gary’s mission is to:

  • Educate people that they should donate.
  • Encourage people to donate.
  • Enable them to donate.

Through, people are able to take ownership of hunger and malnutrition in their own communities. We can all help! I mean, really…how many zucchini can you give to your neighbors before they will start hiding from you? This is a much better solution.

You can visit the website to find a food bank location near you and to get more information on this organization. And this is a Ted talk by Gary Oppenheimer that explains everything.

Inspiring indeed!

This post is part of the 31 Days of Living Homegrown. Sign up for my newsletter (weekly or monthly) so you don’t miss any of the inspiration and resources I will be sharing for living local, fresh and homegrown!

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About the Author:

Theresa Loe is the founder of Living Homegrown® and the Canning Academy®. For 9 years, Theresa was the Co-Executive Producer & Canning Expert on the national PBS gardening series, Growing A Greener World®. Theresa homesteads on just 1/10th of an acre in Los Angeles with her husband, two sons and several disorderly but totally adorable chickens. Learn more about Living Homegrown here and about the Canning Academy here.