Make the best of excess homegrown fruits, veggies and herbs. Wasting food should always be avoided, even when you grew the food yourself or received it in a CSA share. Help out your friends and community members by donating produce you can’t use or preserve for later.
Where to donate: you have options!
- Offer to family, friends, or neighbors.
- Start or add to a “free table” or sharing space at your workplace.
- Use social media like NextDoor or Facebook groups to quickly spread the word.
- Donate to a local food shelf or other group, e.g. a senior association.
Using your personal relationships has some advantages. You can recruit someone to harvest for you, or get a reward like a home-baked pie in return for your bushel of apples!
People don’t realize that many hunger-relief agencies will happily take your fruits and vegetables. It’s worth calling your local food shelf to ask! Use this tool to search for food pantries: http://ampleharvest.org/pantry-map/
Local organizations that welcome produce:
What to donate: nearly everything!
Popular and easy-to-use vegetables work well for food shelves, especially if they have a longer shelf life (things like beans, cucumbers or apples). Unusual varieties of fruits and veggies are best for friends and neighbors who can ask you questions about how to use them.
General tips on donation:
- Donate the day you harvest or receive fruits and vegetables to maximize shelf life.
- Donate what you’d eat: don’t donate bruised, overripe or insect-infested produce.
- Think “mostly clean.” Wipe off dirt but don’t wash with water; it can shorten shelf life.
- Separate your produce by type. This makes it easier for your recipient to get what they want and follow proper food storage.
- For more information on food storage and how to prevent food waste: https://www.savethefood.com/food-storage