AmpleHarvest.org is a nationwide anti-hunger effort created by Master Gardener (also CNN Hero) Gary Oppenheimer, which enables millions of Americans who grow food in home gardeners to find a local food pantry eager for their garden excess.
Nearly 3,200 food pantries across all 50 states are already signed up with more signing up daily. While the USDA knows the location of every food bank in the US, AmpleHarvest.org represents the most extensive list of food pantries in captivity.
You can help more fresh produce get to more people in the community by:
1. Being generous with your own harvest. What you grow is your food first and foremost and you should enjoy it, preserve it and share it with friends and neighbors. However, any additional garden bounty should be donated to a local food pantry easily found at Ampleharvest.org.
2. Making sure your neighborhood food pantry is registered. If you know of a food pantry in your community that is not yet listed on AmpleHarvest.org, you should visit www.AmpleHarvest.org/addpantries to help the pantry register.
3. Making sure other gardeners know that they too can donate. Gardeners can take the flier at www.AmpleHarvest.org/gardenshop to local nurseries and garden shops to be posted where other customers can see it.
4. Mentioning AmpleHarvest.org on your blog, Facebook page etc.
Many of you are familiar with Plant A Row (PAR) and some of you have worked with them in the past. It is a wonderful program and AmpleHarvest.org has several features that complement it. These include:
1. Available anywhere in the country (www.AmpleHarvest.org/map) that a local food pantry registers;
2. Is easily accessed by gardeners any time of the year – even those who did not plant an extra row but are now faced with an excessive harvest;
3. Is accessible online or even from a garden via a free iPhone app (AmpleHarvest.org/iphone); and
4. Is promoted with a $10K/month grant for advertising on Google to help reach the maximum number of gardeners.
If you already know about PAR, utilization of Ampleharvest.org would be a great “one-two punch” against hunger.
Finally, you should know that AmpleHarvest.org publishes photos of gardeners making produce donations to food pantries. All you need to do is send a photo to info@AmpleHarvest.org of your delivery. AmpleHarvest.org finds that pictures like these help encourage other gardeners to also donate from their garden.
Please do what you can to help spread the word.
Adapted from an email sent to Master Gardener Coordinators across the United States by:
National Program Leader - (Ag Homeland Security)
Institute of Food Production and Sustainability