Most blogs don’t start with an apology, or at least they probably shouldn’t.
This one does and it absolutely should.
I created AmpleHarvest.org in 2009 following the realization that the solution to hunger, malnutrition, childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes as well a host of environmental problems including the waste stream, trash dump methane emissions and the ever growing carbon foot prints in our communities are at least in part, solvable in the community.
For America’s 40+ million home growers who had the problem of often growing more food than they could use and for 50 million Americans who have had the day to day problem of living in a food insecure home, the epiphany that these problems were a solution for each other lead me to create and launch AmpleHarvest.org.
It took me only seven weeks. It’s amazing what you can do with a good idea and no lawyers in the picture. It’s also helpful to have the adage that “to do the impossible, you must believe it isn’t” on your side.
Researching the problem, designing the program, finding techies to build it, testing the platform, creating the marketing material, working with hundreds of food banks in America, connecting with government officials, partnering with other non-profits working to end hunger, creating “talking points” and then talking to the media, asking people for help and support, building an organization and a board, working with volunteers, thinking through needed enhancements, creating iPhone and Android apps, working with the faith community, communicating with thousands of food pantries, tracking and managing about 12 gigabytes of emails as well as redirecting the hungry people who come to us for help to WhyHunger.org or United Way – both partners of AmpleHarvest.org, left me well aware of the urgent need to create a blog. It also left me with virtually no time to actually do so.
Missed were the opportunities to welcome St. Mary’s Food Pantry – the very first food pantry to join AmpleHarvest.org in May 2009 or to showcase Rosie’s Place, the 1000th that joined only 150 days later, the phenomenal experience of being named CNN Hero in 2010 or the sheer terror of doing a TEDx presentation in 2012, spending an evening working in Miriam’s Kitchen (the soup kitchen to which the White House donates food) or the awe of meeting the President and First Lady. More so was watching the angry reactions of the Republican and Democratic co-chairs of the House Hunger Caucus when we told them that a government grant that could have helped AmpleHarvest.org nationwide was instead awarded to a single county to learn if poverty and hunger existed there (no surprise – it does.).
Going forward, I’ll do my best to share AmpleHarvest.org’s dreams, growth, impact and challenges. This blog will include writings from AmpleHarvest.org staffers and interns who will share their stories and dreams, and hopefully, guest bloggers who will add their food for thought, too.
We are finally launching this blog. It is four years late and many wonderful entries that should have appeared in the past did not. For that I apologize, but I felt that creating a whole new way to eliminate food waste, hunger and malnutrition across America was more urgent than actually writing about it.
Maybe there is nothing to apologize for after all.