New Report Reveals Home Gardeners' Huge Influence in Ending Food Waste and Hunger

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Home and community gardeners account for 11 billion pounds of food waste annually. AmpleHarvest.org is changing that.

For the past nine years, there has been an increasing awareness of the issue of the waste of food across the world. Available data previously documented only the “farm to table” loses. What has been missing from the discussion of the problem and potential solutions has been the loss that occurs closer to home - in tens of millions of home and community gardens. AmpleHarvest.org was founded in 2009 to address the issue of that food loss by educating and enabling these gardeners to donate their excess food. Until now, how much of that excess food was available for donation was anybody's guess.

In 2015/2016 AmpleHarvest.org conducted a survey of nearly 2,500 home and community gardeners. A white paper titled “Stop Wasting Food: Ending Hunger by Donating Excess Garden Produce” authored by Dr. Selena Ahmed and Dr. Carmen Byker Shanks from Montana State University was also released.

Through analysis of this data, it was discovered that gardeners can potentially donate 11.4 billion pounds annually of excess garden produce, valued at $27.3 billion dollars. What’s more is that 4 out of 5 gardeners are willing and able to donate produce to a local food pantry that welcome their excess. AmpleHarvest.org harnesses the power of technology to connect these gardeners with food pantries eager to accept their donations. Produce donations have increased from 8.6 percent to 23 percent since AmpleHarvest.org was founded in 2009. The full results of the survey are available at: http://www.AmpleHarvest.org/study.

On August 17, 2017, the NRDC released their report “Wasted: How America is Losing up to 40 percent of Its Food from Farm to Fork to Landfill” in it, data from AmpleHarvest.org’s Nationwide Study of Garden Food Waste informs the need for change at the household level.

One of the suggested actions items for consumers listed in the report:

"Share food. Sharing with friends and family not only avoids waste but builds community. This might mean sharing excess entrées, splitting a farm box, or even donating a glut of garden-grown produce.”

“At its core, AmpleHarvest.org is the community in action. It is individuals across our nation sharing the excess bounty of their gardens to help feed their neighbors in need,” notes AmpleHarvest.org founder Gary Oppenheimer.

Historically the food pantries that help feed tens of millions of Americans have only been able to offer jars, cans and boxes processed food.

AmpleHarvest.org has changed that.

“Whether gardeners deliberately plant more than is needed to help their community or they simply woke up one morning to too many cucumbers or tomatoes in the garden, AmpleHarvest.org educates, encourages and enables them to donate the excess bounty to a nearby food pantry – something they’ll likely continue to do for the rest of their gardening life,” noted Oppenheimer.

The opportunity for home gardens to help food pantries nationwide is significant said Oppenheimer. “Last year, AmpleHarvest.org registered food pantries reported collectively receiving in excess of 20 million pounds of locally grown garden produce.”

Food banks, large warehouse operations that supply America’s 33,500 food pantries, have been very enthusiastic about AmpleHarvest.org’s work. Not only did the AmpleHarvest.org model actually cut their operating costs notes Jennifer Gilmore, former executive director of Feeding America San Diego - the largest distributor of donated food in San Diego County and one of the most efficient non-profits in the nation, “AmpleHarvest.org offers everyone an easy way to help families struggling to keep food on the table. You should see the smiles the fresh fruits and veggies bring. AmpleHarvest.org is a ‘why didn't I think of that’ idea! Talk about a win-win concept - connecting gardeners with families struggling to keep food on the table.”

About AmpleHarvest.org

AmpleHarvest.org, Inc. is a not-for-profit 501c3 organization which works to diminish food waste and hunger in America by educating, encouraging and empowering growers to easily find a local food bank eager to receive the excess garden bounty. For more information, visit http://www.AmpleHarvest.org/presskit or call AMPLE-6-9880 (267-536-9880).

Connect with AmpleHarvest.org:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AmpleHarvest.org
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AmpleHarvest
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ampleharvest/

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Jamie McCarthy
@AmpleHarvest
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