Monday, April 11, 2011
 As you know, Michelle Obama’s Lets Move effort calls for Americans both to eat a healthy diet and to exercise more.  For many food bank/food pantry clients (approximately 1 out of every 6 Americans), access to fresh produce is often limited or completely unavailable. is the ideal solution to get these pantries access to garden produce which previously has been composted or left to rot in gardens. 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, 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

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, you should visit to help the pantry register.

3.    Making sure other gardeners know that they too can donate.  Gardeners can take the flier at to local nurseries and garden shops to be posted where other customers can see it.

4.    Mentioning 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 has several features that complement it. These include:

1.    Available anywhere in the country ( 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 (; 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 would be a great “one-two punch” against hunger.

Finally, you should know that publishes photos of gardeners making produce donations to food pantries.  All you need to do is send a photo to  of your delivery. 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:
Bill Hoffman
National Program Leader - (Ag Homeland Security)
Institute of Food Production and Sustainability
202-401-1112 (office)
202-445-5576 (cell)

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