Excess garden produce may now be donated to neighborhood food pantries
Rhinelander Area Food Pantry (RAFP) has joined the AmpleHarvest.org Campaign, a nationwide program that enables backyard gardeners to locate local food pantries so they can share their excess garden bounty.
With one out of six American families now relying on pantries to help feed them, the pantries often have a hard time meeting the demand.
At the same time, millions of backyard gardeners across America frequently find that their vegetable, fruit, herb and nut gardens provide far more produce than they can possibly use or share with friends. The remainder is often either left to rot in the garden or put into the trash, which contributes to pollution issues.
Gardeners who want to share part of their harvest are often unable to find local pantries because they typically do not have a yellow page listing or an Internet presence.
Food pantries almost never have access to fresh food, due to the structure of the American food bank network. This leaves food pantry clients with access only to canned vegetables and fruit, often packaged with sugar or salt, which can contribute to long term health issues.
To address this, the AmpleHarvest.org website enables food pantries to register their name, phone, address, an optional photograph of the pantry to make it easier to find, and day(s) and time(s) they can accept the gardener’s produce. Gardeners and other donors also have the option of using the AmpleHarvest iPhone and Android apps available as a free downloads.
Now that RAFP is a part of the AmpleHarvest.org campaign, area backyard and community gardeners will be able to quickly find the pantry using the personalized driving instructions available on the website. More than 6,000 (and growing) food pantries participate nationwide.
According to AmpleHarvest.org founder and CNN Hero Gary Oppenheimer, “In 2007, my own garden grew more produce than we could possibly use, and I quickly found that there are only so many cucumbers you can give to friends and still have them call you a friend. Our community garden also left a lot of produce to rot on the vines. What a waste. That was when it became clear that AmpleHarvest.org was desperately needed.”
RAFP welcomes fresh produce donations for its clients. Additionally, information will be posted from time to time by the pantry on the site, listing those store-bought items that are in short supply at the pantry. This will enable anyone wishing to help their neighbors in need.
RAFP is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization established in 2005 to reduce hunger in the city of Rhinelander and surrounding area. In 2012 approximately 500,000 pounds of food was distributed to area families in need.
AmpleHarvest.org (www.AmpleHarvest.org) is a nationwide 501(c)(3) not-for-profit anti-hunger effort, backed and supported by Google Inc., the USDA, National Gardening Association, Rotary International, Feeding America and most of America’s food banks as well as the National Council of Churches, which educates, encourages and empowers millions of growers across America to share their excess garden produce with a local food pantry.