Friday, April 9, 2010

Too many veggies to eat? Share the love.

Do you love planting vegetables, only to find that you have more than you can possibly eat at one time?

I do. It's always a harvest of riches, but sometimes, I just have too much at once -- and I hate to see it go to waste. And millions of other gardeners are just like us, too.

We know most of the larger food banks can't handle anything other than non-perishable items. But now someone is working to solve that problem and help feed those who go to bed hungry every night.

Ample Harvest has created a database, so gardeners can easily find local food pantries eager to receive freshly picked crops for their clients.

There are 30,000+ food pantries in the U.S. Smaller than food banks, they often operate in houses of worship for a few hours per week.

So far only about 5% of food pantries are registered in the database. When more register, more gardeners and other folks will be able to donate food, and more hungry people will be fed.

Here's how you can help:

1. CLICK to find your closest food pantry. Let people know about it so they can donate food in your community, or receive some if they need it.

2. ASK the staff to register their pantry at

3. SPREAD the word to backyard gardeners with surplus produce. Click for a flyer to post in garden shops and other places.

I searched for registered food pantries around my area, and while I didn't come up with many, it really only takes one close enough for a drive once a week or whenever the harvest basket overflows. Our Capital Area Food Bank at 8201 South Congress does take fresh produce and they are open on Saturdays from 9-4. That's where my daughter and I will be going tomorrow morning to take a delivery of Swiss chard and lettuce!

What a perfect way to celebrate Earth Day this year, don't you think?

You can also join in the celebration of Earth Day, April 22, by going to Jan's blog at Thanks For Today and participate in the contest to make a greener earth. Her efforts will raise awareness, and you will be entered for a prize, too!

Celebrate Earth day this year by sharing the love.

Where's the food pantry closest to you?


Lisa at Greenbow said...

This is a great way to celebrate Earth Day. Helping others is a great way to celebrate life.

Dee @ Red Dirt Ramblings said...

Diana, this is such cool information. Thank you!~~Dee

Diana said...

Lisa -- I thought it was right in the spirit of Earth Day. And what a great idea to finally be able to share perishable food.

Dee -- I hope people will really check it out and use it. I have a ton of fresh Swiss chard and lettuce out there right now. Gonna try to take it somewhere tomorrow. I'll have to post about how it goes.

Jan (Thanks For Today) said...

Hi diana, I'm on my BlackBerry right now but wanted to let you know I enjoyed your post and will publish it on my site as soon as I'm back at my computer! I didn't know this info and think it's great that you found out about it and shared it. I will have to look into it in my area to see what they are doing. Thank you so much for joining in my celebration! Jan

Anonymous said... is great.

70% of food pantries are in houses of worship, so let your friends in the faith community know about it.... if their church/temple has a pantry, it should get on

Also. make sure the garden shops in your area tell their customers.

garden girl said...

Hi Diana, this is a wonderful idea! I became of aware of it through the Master Gardeners program. Kudos for spreading the word!

Lancashire rose said...

Great idea- when I have too many. Right now I only have peas and beets and only enough for us. But who knows. Saw your article in the AAS today. Great job. You should know, right!

Gail said...

Excellent information Diana~Thank you for the suggestion. gail

Diana said...

Jan - that's great - thanks & glad you liked it. It's just a little different way to think of earth day, but is certainly about sustainability and sharing and the spirit of the day. Looks like you're doing great with the contest!

Garden Girl - So glad to learn about this worthy cause to help pass it along.

Lancashire Rose - Well, at several points in the year I either not enough or too much of something. I know lots of other gardeners with the same feast or famine issue, so it seemed like a good idea to spread the word about this. Glad you liked the deer article in the Statesman. It was interesting to research more about deer. Nice to see you and David today, too.

Gail - Thanks - hope you'll check it out. It was great to take a huge 8 lb box of swiss chard and lettuce to our food bank yesterday.