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Coming of Age

December 30, 2021
many small tomatoes from green to red in color
photo of Gary Oppenheimer in a garden Gary Oppenheimer

Depending on your family’s tradition, you may have participated in a “coming of age” ceremony such as a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, Quinceañera/Quince Años, Confirmation, sweet sixteen, or it might have been marked by getting a driver’s license.  They all, in some way, mark your transition from youth to adulthood.

Similarly, 2021 has been a “coming of age” year for

  • We transitioned from what started as a one person scrappy young nonprofit with an exciting hunger/food waste model built around a 12 year old hand coded website (largely held together with digital duct tape), to one with a great team and an entirely new platform built from the ground up, thanks to Bonnie Plants.
  • We integrated all of our internal operations and ensured our data and data management is state of the art.
  • We expanded our board of directors to include more of the expertise and corporate support that will help further its work.

And we did all of this while adding new pantries nationwide and educating and enabling America’s home/community gardeners to donate their surplus harvest, just as we’ve been doing since day one.

Every nonprofit goes through a series of lifecycle steps, starting from an idea (March 2009) to startup (May 2009) to growth (2009 to current) to maturity. has a lot more growing to do and we’re ready for that with new ideas and solutions. We’re going to significantly improve the gardener and the food pantry experience (including helping pantries understand what types of produce will be donated based on the time of the year and their exact location in the country), make sure that America’s tribal communities and territories benefit from our work, and do more to help our fellow hunger/food waste partners get access to our resources. Much of this will be made possible by our current and new, exciting and hugely impactful corporate partnerships (stay tuned!).

It is our plan to make it so that donating surplus harvests will be as commonplace and easy as donating unneeded clothing to a thrift shop.  It’ll be something that every gardener will know about and act on.

With a background in technology and a passion for not wasting things, especially food, I was described in the past as the perfect nexus of geek and social responsibility. While I started without any nonprofit experience, I also started it with the deep conviction that the passion I held as a gardener to donate my surplus was the same as held by millions of my fellow gardeners.  And it seems that I was right.

Although I initiated the idea and startup of, it has been you – the person donating money and/or the gardener who donates food who owns the growth and soon maturity parts of our life cycle.   The financial support we continue to receive from our generous donors is what makes it possible for the harvest donors to do their part.

Towards that end, we’re very excited to tell you that donations made before the end of the year will be matched by Bonnie Plants. Every dollar will have a lasting impact. For example, a $100 donation will result in 1,600 servings of freshly harvested produce next year, and like itself, that impact will continue to grow year after year.

Thank you everyone for helping reach this “coming of age” point. We are looking forward to working with you as we continue to grow, share our harvests, and nourish our communities.

Have a Wonderful and SAFE New Year.

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