The Story

2009 was founded May 2009 when Gary Oppenheimer saw a need to end the waste of locally grown fresh food AND saw a solution. He then moved on it.

May: launched after three volunteers (Gary plus two) assembled the web site. Total time from inspiration to national roll out was seven weeks.

Also May, Jonathan Bloom’s “” creates the first public exposure for

June: Google offers $10,000 per month advertising grant.

August: The National Gardening Association partnered with to help inform it’s members of the opportunity to donate garden produce.

October: The 1,000th food pantry registered on the site.

December: At the recommendation of United Way, started providing United Way resource information for needy individuals to came to the site.


January: released a free iPhone app to making it easier than ever to find a local food pantry.

February: was invited by the US Department of Agriculture to become a partner organization to the USDA Peoples’ Garden Initiative, a nationwide effort to encourage community gardens that benefit the community and incorporate sustainable practices.

May: was highlighted on CNN, and founder Gary Oppenheimer named CNN Hero.

August: was highlighted on the United We Serve web site – to encourage people around America to help add food pantries and inform local gardeners.

Also August: As part of its effort to diminish the environmental impact of food waste, was listed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a food rescue resource.

November: founder Gary Oppenheimer was named
Huffington Post’s Greatest Person of the Day.

Also November, in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving: created a Centerpeices for Pantries to encourage people to replace the floral table arrangements on their Thanksgiving tables with one made of whole fruit instead, which would then be donated to a local food pantry the next day.


February: As part of’s effort to do the most “good” with the least environmental impact, upgraded to an Internet Service Provider powered 100% by wind power.

March: was endorsed by the National Council of Churches thereby helping more of the food pantries churches across America learn about and participate the effort.

April: released its Android app to accompany the previously released iPhone app.

May: announced a special outreach effort the tornado ravaged Tuscaloosa Alabama “subsequently” JoplMissouri areas) to help improve both the immediate and long term availability of fresh produce for those impacted by the tornado.

Also May marked its two year anniversary with 6,997 food pantries across America already registered on You can view a nationwide map of all registered food pantries by clicking here.

June: The web site was completely overhauled to make it even easier to use while giving it a newer, fresher look.

July: The 4,000th food pantry registered at

July: partnered with Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative with the common goal of creating a healthier America. While Let’s Move! encourages people to eat healthier food, actually makes it happen for millions of people who othwise don’t have access to it.

September: Google quadrupled its advertising grant to $480,000 per year as part of their support of was also named top ten finalist the CLASSY Awards program.

October: won the Glynwood “2011 Wave of the Future” award

Also October: founder Gary Oppenheimer was named “Huffington’s Post “Game Changer for 2011”.

November: PBS’s “Growing A Greener World” focusing on was released to PBS stations nationwide.

December: founder Gary Oppenheimer was invited to the White House both for meetings with senior staff and to meet the President.


January: founder Gary Oppenheimer was the final speaker at TEDx Manhattan “Changing the Way We Eat”.

February: First Lady Michelle Obama, spoke about a speech celebrating the first anniversary of her Let’s Move! initiative.

March: The domaname was donated by company branding agency Tungsten Branding, unifying and simplifying the’s online name recognition.

Also March: participated a White House conference to participate a conversation about local and regional food systems and the USDA’s Know Your Food, Know Your Farmer Compass.

April: registered it’s 5,000th food pantry.

May: was presented at the Brooklyn Food Conference – helping to expand our impact urban centers.

June: founder Gary Oppenheimer named winner of the “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” inspired “Community Service Contest“.

July: participated a White House conference to participate a forum to discuss the important role that community and faith-based social innovators play expanding opportunity and addressing social issues.

August: participated a White House convening to explore hunger solutions.

September: participated Ample Harvest Seattle – with special guest Graham Kerr (“The Galloping Gourmet“)

Also September: was presented to the House of Representatives Washington DC at the invitation of Rep. McGovern.

Also September: was presented to the Green Initiatives Conference Atlanta Ga.

October: founder Gary Oppenheimer was awarded the Elfenworks “Harmony With Hope” award.

November: was presented to the City of Atlanta – Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, as part of our expansion into urban settings.


January: was invited by the White House to participate the National Day of Service on the National Mall.

March: participated the Let’s Move Faith and Communities convening at the White House.

June: founder is the plenary speaker at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation International Conference on Philanthropy Athens Greece.

August: was invited to meet at the Office of the Secretary to discuss inclusion “Feds Feed Families

Also August: and Gardener’s Supply Company Launch “Pledge-A-Veg” Photo Contest

September: founder Gary Oppenheimer” was named “Food Tank Hero” b the food oriented think tank.

October: founder Gary Oppenheimer received the “Points of Light” award.

November: founder Gary Oppenheimer named “Purpose Prize” fellow.


January: was named a strategic partner of the Clinton Health Matters Initiative.

March: was the keynote presentation at Temple University.

March: was the keynote presentation at Cultivate Iowa.

April: founder Gary Oppenheimer was nominated for the World Food Prize by “father of the Internet” Vint Cerf.

June: formally incorporated into Feds Feed Families – the US Govt. food drive.

September: invited to the United Nations General Assembly as part of the UN Zero Hunger Challenge.

October: was the keynote presentation to the National Conference of Master Gardener State Coordinators

December: was presented at the “Last Food Mile” conference at University of Pennsylvania and at the Hunter College Food Policy Conference.


March: was the keynote presentation at Harcum College as part of the urban outreach effort.

April: was the keynote presentation at Tuskegee University

July: Feds Feeds Families announces as part of its 2015 campaign

October: announces the 7,000th food pantry joins the program

November: presented to the National Conference of Obesity., originally created as a program of Sustainable West Milford (New Jersey) was spawned off April 2010 and became Inc. – a 501(c)(3) charitable organization (E#27-2433274).

Feedback from reviews, the press as well both the food bank and gardening community has been overwhelmingly positive. The ultimate success will depend upon the number of participating food pantries that help more growers donate food that otherwise would have gone to waste.

Closing thoughts…

    • If you work at a food pantry, please register as soon as possible so that backyard gardeners can easily find you when they harvest their crops
    • If you are a backyard gardener, please be generous with your bounty.
    • Regardless of who you are, please inform any pantries or gardeners you may know about the campaign.

Although many people are concerned about their own economic situation, enables Americans to help their neighbors by reaching into their backyards instead of their back pockets.

Gary Oppenheimer Founder
CNN Hero
Master Gardener
Rutgers Environmental Steward

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