Ample Harvest? Pass Some Along

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 photo by bloomgal via creative commonsunderrated 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 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!image courtesy of Ample Harvest

This entry was posted in Food Recovery, Garden, Hunger. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.


  1. Posted May 21, 2009 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    nice idea……

    Keep up the good brain waves…..

  2. Posted May 25, 2009 at 1:56 am | Permalink

    Hi, Great idea! Any means to connect the excess fresh food with the hungry people is excellent.
    The food pantries in the Phoenix area won’t take the loose produce I glean from grocery stores, so I have found homeless shelters and needy families to give to directly. Two of the shelters will receive food 24 hours a day. Also, through Craigslist I have recruited volunteers to pick up the car loads of boxes of fresh food and take them to shelters when I have too much to take in one load, and give the volunteer a big box of food as a reward. Have given away $45,000 worth of food so far.
    Best Wishes,
    Secret Freegan

  3. Posted June 8, 2009 at 8:15 pm | Permalink


    Even if pantries wont accept the produce, the site allows them to list store bought things they’d like to receive, as well as the day[s]/hours they should be delivered.

    This affords off season gardeners, as well as non-gardeners the opportunity to provide pantries with those store bought items the pantry is most in need of.


    Gary Oppenheimer Founder

  4. Leslie
    Posted June 10, 2009 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

    I sent your site to a bunch of Illinois food banks and hope they will sign up their pantries. Great idea. We do have a local newspaper that sponsors the “Giving Garden” which basically lists food pantry locations and phone numbers where people can donate extra produce. It must be successful, they’ve been doing it for about seven years now. But this is WAY bigger and better! Thanks!

  5. Posted July 13, 2009 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

    Great idea! We’re blessed with more food pantries in our area, but our garden in Magnolia, Tx, Helping Hands Community Garden, feeds anyone who comes by.

  6. Posted January 10, 2012 at 3:31 am | Permalink


One Trackback

  1. [...] Read, then digest: from harvest to laundromat Posted in May 22nd, 2009 Tags: CKUVM, Food banks, Food Waste, In the Works, Poverty by Liz Whitehurst in Read, then Digest: a weekly roundup of news you can use Ample Harvest? Pass some along: Wasted Food blogs about Ample Harvest, a high-tech way to connect gardeners with extra produce to food pantries that need fresh food. Perhaps it’s one of a number of ways that technology might change the food system, but in the meantime, the Campus Kitchen at the University of Vermont’s Plant a Row for Hunger project is  based on the same principle, but doin’ it up grassroots. [...]

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