got produce?

Monday, May 21st, 2012

2012-05-07 - Garden - 0008

A baby pepper, just planted!
——————————

As you’re planning and planting your garden this year – tomatoes, peppers, pumpkins, squash, and zucchini as far as the eye can see – please consider including an extra row or two (or three or four!) so that you can donate the excess to a local food pantry. Ample Harvest is a free service that connects gardeners with local charities in need of fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts, and herbs – you know, all the good stuff that any self-respecting vegan gardener might already be planting in her plot.

Here’s how it works:

The Idea

While more than 50 million Americans live in food insecure homes (including a quarter of all children under the age of six), more than 40 million Americans grow fruit, vegetables herbs and nuts in home gardens – often more than they can use, preserve or give to friends.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

The Opportunity

Struggling to feed their families, many Americans, both those chronically economically challenged as well as those now impacted by the economic downturn have come to rely on the more than 33,500 food pantries (also called food shelves, food closets, food cupboards or food banks in some areas) across America to help feed their families.

These food pantries, relying on donated and purchased foods, almost never have fresh produce and instead rely on canned or processed produce shipped from across the country at significant cost, both economic and environmental.

At the same time, millions of home and community gardeners nationwide with an abundant harvest do not know that they can share their harvest, do not know how to share their harvest and do not know where to share their harvest. AmpleHarvest.org solves that for them.

The Vision

AmpleHarvest.org envisions an America where millions of gardeners eliminate malnutrition and hunger in their own community.

The Mission

AmpleHarvest.org diminishes hunger in America by educating, encouraging and enabling gardeners to donate their excess harvest to the needy in their community instead of allowing it to rot in the garden. There are no costs to the food pantries or the gardeners for use of AmpleHarvest.org.

The Message

A number of America’s problem could be diminished or even solved if everyone valued our resources, especially fresh food, as the treasure it really is. Our message to America is:

No Food Left Behind

While this doesn’t solve the problem of food access – not by a long shot – growing and donating fresh vegan foods is a small step that you can take to help alleviate hunger in your own community. As Ample Harvest explains, locally sourced foods are also beneficial for the environment: unlike processed foods, fresh foods donated by the community don’t travel as far, don’t require excess packaging – and can even be grown organically, if that’s your thing.

(More below the fold…)