May 27, 2009

Helping other People Help…Us!

Fresh off the internet from the Jewish-minded Sustainable Food Blog JCarrot is news of a great garden-to-pantry program, Ample Harvest. Ample Harvest seeks to connect overly fruitful gardeners with local food pantries.

What’s most exciting about Ample Harvest is that anyone can help connect their surplus produce to pantries, from community gardens, to ambitious backyard gardeners (or front-yard, in my own personal case), to apartment dwellers who use that crazy upside down tomato planter.

Ample Harvest founder Gary Oppenheimer explains the program on JCarrot:

Even people who don’t harvest can help. You can go on the site and see what pantries need. You can contribute by passing the word along to people with gardens or by signing up pantries. We really need help in getting pantries online. My biggest concern is that we’ll have a lot of gardeners with nowhere to donate.

There are some problems in society you can address without spending a lot of money. People are hungry—and food is in people’s backyards. The missing link was getting the food in backyards to the people who are hungry. There might be other problems that can be solved the same way.

[Ed note: We think this is a neat idea, and we’ll look into the registration process – thanks, J-Po!]

This is just one project in a veritable movement of fresh, nutritious food into urban areas that certainly need it. Bread for the City is launching a gleaning program, the Mid-Atlantic Gleaners are providing produce to the DC Central Kitchen (and others), Claggett Farm provides produce and grants to local non-profits, and DC Hunger Solutions is helping to get more produce into corner stores. And just today, the Washington Post reported that a couple of FreshFarm Markets will be matching the value of WIC coupons when used to purchase fresh produce.

It’s not too late to start your garden!

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