Believe it or not, 100 billion pounds of food — enough to eliminate hunger in this country — is thrown away every year. Even more amazing, not all of it is Brussels sprouts.
That’s the word from AmpleHarvest.org, a campaign that seeks to reduce hunger in America “by enabling backyard gardeners to share their excess garden produce with neighborhood food pantries.”
Just about anyone who’s ever grown squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, banana peppers, okra, and other heavy producers knows that there comes a point where a family of four just can’t stand any more healthy eating. Squash may be great a couple of times a week, but eat it three times a day and your eyes turn yellow. So you do what anyone whose parents grew up in the Great Depression and lectured you incessantly about “how we couldn’t afford to waste food” would do. You fill a paper sack with squash, bring it to work, and try to palm it off on your co-workers
Only guess what. That doesn’t work, because each of them is growing squash in their back yard and would rather accept a bag of radioactive waste than a bag of squash. So this extra food gets chucked into the trash or put out in the compost.
Save the Food! Don’t Throw It Away!
This is where AmpleHarvest.org comes in. This grass-roots effort — supported by such organizations as the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the VFW, Catholic Charities, and the Garden Writers of America (to which the Grump proudly belongs) — seeks to connect backyard gardeners burdened by extra produce with local food pantries where it can be collected and distributed to needy families.
If you go to their website (and I know you will), you can enter your address and zip code to find the food pantry nearest you. You’ll even get driving instructions. Food pantries can also register with the site so that people can easily find them.
So if like most Grumpians, you’re deeply concerned about world hunger and are such superior gardeners that you grow much more produce than your family can eat, don’t throw away the excess, not even the Brussels sprouts. Contact AmpleHarvest.org put that squash to good use.