Gary Oppenheimer is an avid gardener. A master gardener, in fact.
When Gary became director of the West Milford (NJ) Community Garden, he found that others left a lot of produce on the vines. He created a committee, called Ample Harvest, to find food pantries to which they could donate this healthy excess. It turned out they couldn’t find any. And when Gary searched himself, the closest one he found was 25 miles away, he told me in a recent phone interview.
That’s when he realized:
The pantries are not listed any place. They don’t have an internet presence. That’s when I had an epiphany in early March, saying, what we need is a nationwide directory of food pantries.
And today, with the launch of Ample Harvest, Gary is approaching that goal. He’s touched on an underrated problem in the food recovery world. How can individuals or institutions donate fresh food when they don’t know where to bring it?
Ample Harvest was created to solve that problem by providing an easy way for backyard gardeners to find the food pantries closest to their home. It’s a neat idea. Because not only do pantries need more donations to meet their increased demand, but they also need fresh produce to provide healthy meals to those who don’t get enough nourishment.
This is one of those sites that will work better with more users. So, as the site advises:
If no food pantries in your area are listed, you can help the AmpleHarvest.org campaign by seeking one out and encouraging them to sign up.
Some pantries won’t take loose produce, so be sure to ask if they will when contacting them. Still, it’s definitely worth the effort. I’ve just contacted a few local pantries to try to get them to register. Hopefully you’ll do the same and spread the word about Ample Harvest. Let’s make this work!