While more than 50 million Americans live in food insecure homes (including a quarter of all children under the age of six), more than 42 million Americans grow fruit, vegetables herbs and nuts in home gardens – often more than they can use, preserve or give to friends. The rest adds up to more than 11 billion pounds of wasted food – enough to feed 28 million hungry Americans.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
Struggling to feed their families, many Americans, both those chronically and recently economically challenged have come to rely on the more than 33,500 food pantries (also called food shelves, food closets, food cupboards or food banks in some areas) across America to help feed their families.
These food pantries, relying on donated and purchased foods, almost never have fresh produce and instead rely on canned or processed produce shipped from across the country at significant cost, both economic and environmental.
At the same time, millions of home and community gardeners nationwide with an abundant harvest do not know that they can share their harvest, do not know how to share their harvest and do not know where to share their harvest. AmpleHarvest.org solves that for them.
AmpleHarvest.org envisions an America where millions of gardeners eliminate wasted food, malnutrition and hunger in their own community.
AmpleHarvest.org works to diminish the waste of food and therefore hunger in America by using education and technology to enable home and community gardeners to share their excess harvests with a nearby food pantry instead of letting it go to waste.
Our “No Food Left Behind” goal is to have a healthier and by extension, wealthier America.
- Currently, 7,906 food pantries across all 50 states are registered to receive a sustainable and recurring supply of freshly harvested, locally grown food (many for the first time) from area growers – for free!
- Since its launch in 2009, growers across all 50 states have donated tens of millions of pounds of fresh that would have been lost to waste were instead donated to a nearby food pantry for the first time.
- Millions of pantry clients can feed their family fresh food instead of food packaged with added salt and sugar thereby reducing the likelihood of diet related illness such as diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity.
- Children are exposed to fresh produce with many learning for the first time that apples do not normally come pre-sliced in cellophane, peas come in pods and not cans, and carrots are normally sweet and crunchy. This helps decrease the risk of childhood obesity and the likelihood that they will carry healthy eating into adulthood.
- Gardeners across America enjoy the satisfaction of knowing that they are helping their neighbors in need by reaching into their backyard instead of their back pocket.
- Families are introduced to new varieties of food they may have had no prior access to.
- Pantries are able to reduce their carbon footprint as they source more food locally. They decrease the amount of disposable packages or cans that have been trucked across the country.
- The community waste stream is reduced (taxes too!) as excess food is donated instead of being thrown away thereby also reducing methane emissions (a climate change gas with 20 times the impact of CO2) at trash dumps.
- All this occurs with an extremely high return on investment
Gary Oppenheimer is our Executive Director and Founder. A self described aging geek, he has worked with computers and communications going back to the 1970’s. As director of a community garden in 2009, he learned about the wasted food in many plots and created a program called “Ample Harvest” to get the excess food to local food pantries. Realizing this as a nationwide problem, he created a nationwide solution called AmpleHarvest.org to use the Internet educate, encourage and enable millions of growers nationwide to share their ample harvest with local food pantries in all 50 states. Gary can be reached at [email protected].
Emily Fulmer is our Grower Outreach Coordinator. She brings to the table many years of community and faith-based organizing as well as volunteer recruitment and engagement experience. She lives in Memphis, TN and is an active volunteer with GrowMemphis, the region’s only grassroots urban gardening and food justice organization. She grows vegetables in her front and back yards and has recently welcomed a small flock of Buff Orpington hens to her young family. Emily can be reached at [email protected].
Leanne Mazurick is our Food Pantry Outreach Coordinator. She has worked in higher education for the last 10 years engaging students through volunteer experiences both domestically and internationally. Through these experiences, Leanne gained valuable insight into the complexities of social justice issues that impact so many. Hunger relief and sustainable agriculture are of particular interest to Leanne and she is thrilled to be combining those two passions as Food Pantry Outreach Coordinator for AmpleHarvest.org. Leanne can be reached at [email protected].
Julia Shanbrom is our Administrative Manager. She comes to AmpleHarvest.org with a background in public health administration and sustainable landscape design. Julia has worked on both mental and physical health initiatives at Montefiore Hospital; the Major’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence; and the NYC Department of Health. Julia feels passionately that our culture, wisdom and health are passed down through the ways we grow, prepare and share food and she is thrilled to bring this passion to AmpleHarvest.org. Julia and her husband live in the Hudson Valley and spend most of their free time renovating their very old house and growing fruits and veggies in the backyard. Julia can be reached at [email protected].
World Food Prize Nomination
Points of Light Tribute
Greatest Person of the Day
2011 Game Changer
Wave of the Future
Gary Oppenheimer, a World Food Prize nominee, CNN Hero, lecturer and speaker (including a TED presentation and a Google Tech Talk), 2013 Purpose Prize Fellow, receiver of the Points of Light Tribute award for AmpleHarvest.org, Huffington Post’s “Greatest Person of the Day” and “2011 Game Changer”, winner of the Russell Berrie Foundation’s “Making A Difference” award, winner of the Glynwood 2011 “Wave of the Future” award, winner of the 2012 Elfenworks “In Harmony With Hope” award, Echoing Green semifinalist and founder of AmpleHarvest.org now makes his home in the mountains of northern New Jersey after having lived on a boat on the Hudson River in Manhattan since 1978. He is also a Master Gardener, Rutgers Environmental Steward, former community garden director, Environmental Commissioner in northern New Jersey, an avid gardener and long distance cyclist.
Aware of the increasing hunger problem in America and, in 2009, after seeing the amount of wasted food in the community garden as well as other gardens around the country, he created AmpleHarvest.org – a nationwide effort to enable America’s 42 million home gardeners who grow food to be able to easily find a local food pantry eager for their excess garden bounty.
He has appeared in numerous radio and TV interviews, has spoken at Wharton’s Social Responsibility conference, Temple University, the Food Conference at UC Davis, Jewish Theological Seminary, the Brooklyn Food Conference and many others.
Because AmpleHarvest.org works closely with First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative to improve fresh food access at thousands of food pantries nationwide, he had the opportunity to meet the President and First Lady and she subsequently highlighted AmpleHarvest.org in a speech in early 2012.
Gary also does public speaking about hunger and AmpleHarvest.org, individuals making a difference in their community as well as a variety of environmental topics.
He also enjoys boating, hiking, farming (chickens for eggs and vegetables) and attacking challenges of all sorts. He is a firm believer in the notion that to do the impossible, you must first believe it isn’t.
David Karlin is the President of Benecard Services, LLC, a prescription benefit manager and National Vision Administrators, LLC, a managed vision care company. He is also President and a member of the Board of Directors of Heartland Fidelity Insurance Company.
His career has been focused in healthcare and health benefits with an emphasis on the intersection of technology and clinical information; prescription medication adherence; and health management. He has three decades of management experience including responsibility for operations, sales and marketing and information technology. Previous roles include senior management positions at Merck-Medco, LLC and National Prescription Administrators, Inc.
David holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy from Massachusetts College of Pharmacy; a Masters degree in Public Administration from the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy of the University at Albany and a Juris Doctor degree from Albany Law School of Union University.
Terry L. McCrary
Mr. McCrary founded McCrary & Company in 1998 with the goal of providing financial analysis, investment advice and management services to clients on Distressed Securities and Quantitative Equity Research. Recent activities include directing the liquidation of a $400 million multi-national corporation for its secured lender, a major Hong Kong-based merchant bank; creating & implementing a corporate structure which enabled client, an NYSE-listed manufacturer of industrial equipment in Austria, to leverage its R&D expenditures by more than 2x through the use of investment and R&D tax credits and other incentives across multiple jurisdictions; leading the acquisition of a failed bank in Romania.
Terry served as Managing Director – Research of Diem Capital Management in New York, New York from 2002 – 2006. From 1994 until 1998, Mr. McCrary served as Vice President – Research for Auerbach, Pollak & Richardson, Inc. in Stamford, Connecticut, conducting research on distressed securities where he sourced, securitized and marketed trade claims of companies reorganizing under Chapter XI.
Mr. McCrary has also served as a guest lecturer to Carnegie Mellon’s Master of Science in Computational Finance and Entrepreneurship programs. He graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a Master of Science in Industrial Administration and from Case Western Reserve University with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics.
Alisa Ahmadian is a Producer at e2k Events x Entertainment where she designs and manages large-scale experiences for government and nonprofit partners. In her role, she serves as a creative lead and project manager for organizations seeking to drive major fundraising, collaboration and meaningful change via live events. Her productions represent a diverse spectrum- from a national roadshow aimed at rethinking public high school education in America, to a futurist convening on the exponential medicine, to a 5000 person convening around gender equity, and more.
Alisa’s background is in nonprofit consulting and organizational development. Previous to coming onboard at e2k, she served as a core member of a startup consultancy in New York City where she helped global clients increase their social impact. She has held positions with the Clinton Global Initiative, the Manhattan Borough President’s Office, and also helped to launch an environmental social enterprise in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
Many years ago as an undergraduate student at the University of California, Los Angeles, Alisa founded a food waste reduction initiative which reduced food waste in campus dining halls by 20% in its first year. As a graduate student at NYU’s Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service she chaired the Wagner Food Policy Alliance. She holds a BA in Political Science from UCLA and an Master in Public Administration from NYU.
David Butler is the Vice President of Digital Operations for Bonnier Corp., one of the leading special-interest publishers in the United States with more than 30 multichannel magazine brands including Popular Science and Saveur. In his role, David is responsible for the processes and infrastructure that support audience engagement growth across more than 50 websites and associated digital products.
David earned a BA degree in Science Writing and Government from Lehigh University and an MBA with concentrations in Management and Finance from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. He is currently pursuing a Masters in Computer Information Systems from the Florida Institute of Technology. He is also a Project Management Professional (PMP) and Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP).
Steven Finn is a sustainability leader and Managing Director of ResponsEcology – a sustainability and change management consulting firm helping organizations to reduce waste and drive transformational culture change with triple bottom line impact. Steven combines 25 years of strategy and control experience in the supply chain sector with a passion for sustainability and conscious capitalism. He has conducted extensive research into the problems of food security, water security, and global food waste, and has developed innovative public-private partnerships to capture and redistribute excess food to mitigate hunger.
Steven is co-founder of the Food Systems Seminar at the University of Pennsylvania, a group which brings together thought leaders from multiple disciplines across the University community on a monthly basis, and serves as an advisor to food recovery projects in the Philadelphia region.
Steven holds a BA in Economics from the University of Delaware, an MBA in Finance from West Virginia University, and the MSOD and MPHIL degrees in Organizational Dynamics from the University of Pennsylvania. He teaches “Global Pennovation” – a project-based graduate class focusing on innovation for sustainability in which a multi-disciplinary group of students works to make a contribution to one of the world’s most pressing sustainability problems. Steven is a frequent speaker on global food waste and food recovery topics and is the author of the blog “FoodForThoughtfulAction.” Steven recently joined Casella Resource Solutions as Vice President of Organics.
Lauren Goldberg has been passionate about equity in healthy food access for over ten years, and has contributed to that mission through her work, voluntary experience, and advocacy. She managed the Refugee Agricultural Partnership Program in Louisville, KY, for five years, engaging numerous partners to help refugee farmers reconnect to their agricultural identities. Together, they increased the supply of healthy produce in that city by $300,000 annually. She was recently quoted in “Flavors from Home: Refugees in Kentucky Share their Stories and Comfort Foods” by Aimee Zaring.
Lauren also focuses her time on preventing the loss and waste of food. She has studied, worked, and volunteered throughout the supply chain over the past three years. She is active in numerous communities of practice related to wasted food research, measurement, and policy. She holds an MS in Food Policy from City University London and a BA in International Relations from Prescott College.
Steve Shah is the Senior Director of Product Management and Product Marketing at Citrix Systems, NetScaler and Cloud Networking Group where leads overall product management. Leveraging his 20 years of industry experience spanning IT, Software Development, and Product Management/Marketing, he provides the Voice of the Customer.
In addition to his almost decade of experience in application networking, he has been an entrepreneur in the mobile applications space and run a successful product strategy consultancy. Steve holds a BS/MS in Computer Science and Creative Writing from UC Riverside. During his IT years, he authored several books on Unix/Linux and Networking.
The Advisory Board
The AmpleHarvest.org Advisory Board is a select group of leaders who contribute their expertise and experience to help AmpleHarvest.org better fulfill its role. A number of people who provide valuable guidance to AmpleHarvest.org request that they remain anonymous and we greatly appreciate their support too.
founding chair of both the Mayor’s Commission on Nutrition and Street Sense, was also the Co-Convener of the first Nonprofit Congress, held in Washington DC in 2006, serves on the Board of the National Addiction Recovery Program,Back On My Feet,
Robert was included in the Non Profit Times list of the “50 Most Powerful and Influential” nonprofit leaders from 2006-2009. He was the recipient of the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington’s 2007 “Lifetime Achievement” award and the 2004 James Beard Foundation “Humanitarian of the Year” award. He has been named an Oprah Angel, a Washingtonian of the Year, a Point of Light and one of the Ten Most Caring People in America, by the Caring Institute. He is also a 15-gallon blood donor to the American Red Cross.
Jonathan is an internationally recognized expert on food waste.
His blog wastedfood.com is the go to source for information on the top. He is also the author of American Wasteland: How America Throws Away Nearly Half of Its Food (and What We Can Do About It)., a study of food waste in America.
Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal in 2009. Tristram set up the Feeding the 5000, the flagship event of a global food waste campaign where 5000 members of the public are given a free lunch using only ingredients that otherwise would have been wasted. Tristram continues to work with a range of NGOs, governments, and private enterprises internationally to tackle the global food waste scandal.
Stephen is a First Vice President at RBC Wealth Management, having joined RBC after 20 years at Smith Barney and Morgan Stanley. Prior to that, he was in the restaurant business.
A graduate of St. John’s University, he is the youngest recipient of an honorary doctoral degree from them. Treasurer of WhyHunger.org (and AmpleHarvest.org partner organization), he and his wife operate The Gables Historic Inn and Restaurant, in Beach Haven, NJ. They have created what we regard as a successful model business incorporating exceptional cuisine, supporting sustainable local agriculture and fair employee wages…wrapping historic preservation and hospitality into responsible community citizenship.
In the 1970s, he was co-founder of “Everything Yogurt” which launched the product now known as “frozen yogurt” and created healthy foods restaurants 30 states. .
The AmpleHarvest.org Campaign has been working closely with many organizations as part of our effort to help more people learn that the solution to hunger in America is in their backyard. A sampling of these collaborations are:
• Working together with The White House and Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative, we are enabling for millions of people what the First Lady advocates – healthier eating by providing access to the healthy food that would otherwise be unaffordable.
• We won the Glynwood Wave of the Future 2011 award for innovation and leadership in sustainable agriculture and regional food systems.
• We have collaborated with a number of organizations such as Campus Kitchens, the National Gardening Association and the Green Education Foundation, which are focused on helping more children and teenagers learn about healthy eating and have or create access to fresh produce.
• With AARP, we are working to educate, encourage and enable more gardeners to donate excess food from gardens to their neighbors in need.
• AmpleHarvest.org and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) have a joint campaign focused on helping more people become aware of the impact of donated fresh food on America’s veterans, many of whom need the assistance of local food pantries to help feed their families.
• The US Department of Agriculture has been helping to promote AmpleHarvest.org to America’s 95,000 Exstesion Master Gardeners.
• The National Council of Churches has been working together to help more food pantries housed in local churches become aware of and register at AmpleHarvest.org.
• The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been working together to help education Americans on the environmental impact of wasted food.
• The Green Education Foundation and AmpleHarvest.org are working together to encourage children to learn to grow food to be donated to pantries as part of the “Plant With A Purpose” program.