We're getting to the part of the summer when some lucky gardeners find themselves overloaded with homegrown squash, tomatoes and beans. An excessive zucchini crop such a classic late-summer problem that jokes about leaving a basket of squash on a neighbor's doorstep in the middle of the night are common. Well, one of the loyal readers of this blog (my dad) recently alerted me to an organization that can solve your squash problem while helping out those who need it most.
Ample Harvest is a website that connects backyard and community gardeners with local food pantries that would love to take extra homegrown fruit and vegetables off their hands. All you have to do is go to the site and type in your zip code, and a list of food pantries that accept garden donations pops right up.
I love this kind of organization. The founder of Ample Harvest noticed a problem--homegrown vegetables going to waste--and took direct action to solve it. On the website, he points out that it's often difficult to find a nearby food pantry in a phone book or with a Google search. By creating this site, which allows interested pantries to register, he removed the barrier between those who want to donate food and the people who need it. Simple, direct, awesome.
Having worked sorting food at various places around Los Angeles, I know that most of the donated food comes in cans or boxes. Fresh fruit and vegetables are a rare treat. I can imagine that the donation of just-picked, delicious homegrown vegetables must be a wonderful gift for food pantries and their clients.
So, if you find yourself with a bumper crop this year, check out AmpleHarvest.org. Hopefully once my fruit trees mature I'll have a chance to donate some peaches, oranges or apples to one of the many food pantries in my area that have registered with the site.