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A letter from AmpleHarvest.org to America’s family farmers

May 07, 2020
pile of potatoes and a pitchfork
photo of Gary Oppenheimer in a gardenGary Oppenheimer

The sight of a farmer throwing away their harvest makes everyone in America angry – especially the nation’s farmers.  The entire country asks why?  

At AmpleHarvest.org, we are urging gardeners nationwide to enlarge their gardens where possible, and plant as much as they can so they can donate a more than ever to local food pantries. But the need for fresh food continues to grow.

Which brings us to you – America’s family farmers.

Food pantries feed dozens or hundreds of families. They really need your help, but there is only so much help they can accept given their typical small size.

A large farm with a large surplus crop would overwhelm any food pantry (the regional Feeding America food bank could likely accept that volume of food). But for the smaller family farm, your crop that couldn’t get to the market, could help reduce hunger in the very community you are located in.

AmpleHarvest.org was designed for gardeners, but small farmers can also use it in this difficult time. Our network has over 8,600 food pantries in 4,100 communities across all 50 states so there are likely one or more not too far from you.

Visit AmpleHarvest.org/farmers-donate-food and enter your zip code.  Start calling the food pantries that appear, firstly to determine if they are open (some pantries have had to close temporarily), discuss logistics (can they pick up the food or will they need your help with transportation) and most importantly, select a day of week/time for donation – ideally a few hours before the hungry families come.  This enables them to accept the food without needing to worry about refrigeration or storage.   

If you can package the food in boxes before delivery, the “handoff” can be easily done while assuring social distancing.

AmpleHarvest.org does not normally work with farmers, and farmers do not normally give away their harvest, but in these painfully difficult times, we’re all doing whatever is possible to make things a bit less difficult for everyone. 

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