Sunday, October 17, 2010

Share Your Bounty - Help Feed the Needy - Make a Difference

When it comes to growing food, most gardeners know that their crops tend towards either feast or famine. When we are just learning the ins and outs of growing edibles, we may end up with one measly green pepper or a few stunted tomatoes. But once we get the hang of it, we can end up with far more fruits and vegetables than we can eat.

In these tough economic times, when one out of every 8 Americans does not have enough food for an active, healthy life, an ideal solution is to donate your home grown products to local food banks and soup kitchens.

The problem is that some of these resources only accept non-perishable food items and finding the ones that do accept green goods can be difficult and time consuming. Fortunately, there are resources available to help match up growers with the organizations that can put their surplus produce to the best possible use. And sharing your surplus produce is a great way for gardeners to help others for Make a Difference Day.  

Finding a Place to Donate

The ( campaign is one group that is working hard to make sure that gardeners can find good outlets for their produce. Started in 2008, was created specifically for backyard gardeners to help share their bounty. Gardeners can search the AmpleHarvest database by entering their zip code or city and all registered pantries within a specified distance will be listed. Entries include not only name, address and other contact information, but also days and hours that gardeners’ donations can be accepted.

Many food pantries operate out of houses of worship. Your best bet may be to check several of the larger churches in your area. Or you may search Angel Food Ministries ( which lists thousands of churches across the country that help get food into the hands of the needy. ( has a link to locate food banks in your area. If you find a conveniently located foodbank, contact them to find out if they accept fresh produce. ( has a searchable listing of farmer’s markets, family farms, and other sources of locally grown food. Some of the local farmers in your area may be able to tell you where they donate their own surplus produce.

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