You probably already know that AmpleHarvest.org was started by Gary Oppenheimer who is a Master Gardener and self-described “aging geek”. You may even know that he’s from New Jersey and got the idea for AmpleHarvest.org when the community garden he was volunteering in had so much extra produce they didn’t know what to do with it. It’s a great story which you can read more about here.
Last month, Gary was nominated by the First Lady of New Jersey, Mary Pat Christie for the New Jersey Heroes prize. This year, three candidates were chosen and whichever won the popular online vote would win the title and receive a $7,500 prize for their non-profit. We did not win.
But that’s okay! The two other nominees are phenomenal and you know what we all had in common? We’re all fighting to eliminate hunger! How cool is it that all three nominees are working to make fresh food accessible to all? We think our fellow nominees are so fantastic that we wanted to make sure to congratulate them for the amazing work they are doing.
1st place went to Kristina Guttadora of NJ Agricultural Society’s “Farmers Against Hunger”. Congrats Kristina! From the NJ Heroes website:
Farmers Against Hunger is a collaborative effort that currently helps over 70 partner agencies, including state food banks, soup kitchens and pantries, by providing free donations. “Glean teams” come to local farms to help harvest extra produce which may otherwise be plowed underground, which is then donated to agencies to provide fresh produce to those who would otherwise not have access to it. Farmers Against Hunger also collects leftover produce from grocery stores and wholesale suppliers that would have gone to waste. They are able to collect 1.3 million pounds of food every year. Read more about Farmers Against Hunger here.
2nd place went to Adam Lowy of Move for Hunger. From their website:
By teaming up with relocation companies across the country, Move For Hunger is creating one of the nation’s largest year-round service programs. Our movers offer to pick up the unwanted, non-perishable food items from those who are moving and deliver it to their local food banks. They are currently working with 601 relocation companies in all 50 states and Canada and they have delivered over 4 Million meals to food banks across North America. Read more about Move for Hunger here.
These two essential programs are moving food to feed the hungry and are preventing millions of pounds of food from being wasted. You can see why we love them so! AmpleHarvest.org may not have won the prize, but we’re fine with that. Because, while we may not be actually MOVING food, what we do provide is a helpful tool for organizations just like these all across America. When Adam’s company needs to find a food bank or food pantry somewhere in America, they use AmpleHarvest.org/findpantry to locate one that is ready and able to accept donations. We’re there for gardeners who have excess garden bounty, for gleaning organizations, and for countless other individuals and organizations that are fighting food waste and hunger in their communities.
While others tackle the logistical challenges of picking up, hauling and delivering food, we’re here to make sure they know where the food is needed most. We have over 7,500 food pantries listed on our online, searchable database. Is there a pantry near you? Do a simple search at www.AmpleHarvest.org/findpantry to find out. If there’s not one listed, send us an email and let us know. You can help us get food pantries in your area on the map so that gardeners can find them when they have excess food to donate. You can be a hero too!