Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Ample Harvest and Urban Garden Scavengers

Even the White House is looking to home gardens and urban agriculture to improve our food system and food access inequalities.  The AmpleHarvest.org Campaign, is a national program that enables Americans who grow food in a home garden to donate excess harvest to registered local food pantries. 
AmpleHarvest.com was first created by Gary Oppenheimer because few food pantries had websites or any type of online presence for people to find them.  Since then the National Gardening Association partnered with  AmpleHarvest,.org to inform members of the opportunity to donate produce.  In July of 2011 the program partnered with Michelle Obama’s “Let’s move!” initiative with the goal of creating a healthier America. "Let's Move Faith and Communities" is a challenge to community leaders, faith-based and neighborhood organizations to help enact a number of programs and achieve specific goals including hosting 10,000 new community gardens or farmer's markets and hosting 1,000 new Summer Food Service Program Sites. 
Ample Harvest has brought fresh produce to more than 4,000 food pantries across the country adding 100 just in the month of July, 2011.  Ample Harvest estimates that more than 700,000 pounds of fresh produce have been donated to food pantries.
Local governments are taking similar approaches to leftover food in abandoned gardens.  In the New York Times article, At Vacant Homes, Foraging for Fruitby Kim Severson, exposes the acceptability of scavenging in abandoned gardens.  Areas with high foreclosure rates mean many empty houses and abandoned gardens.  There are government efforts to turn abandoned land into food – in Multnomah County, officials offer property seized for back taxes to community and governmental organizations for gardens.  Even after homeowners have left, these gardens provide for people living in the area.  These two trends demonstrate the importance of small gardens and urban agriculture in addressing food access problems now and in the future.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing this!! I've got a bumper crop of cucumbers this year... and since the preserving options are limited, I didn't know what to do with them!