How to Share Extra Bounty from Your Garden with the Community

Youíve frozen, dried and canned all the fruit and vegetables you can use over winter. But your garden keeps on producing. Now what?

Your extra fruit and veggies can easily find a loving home. And thereís good reason to make sure your entire harvest makes it to someoneís table.

About 50 percent of all fruits and vegetables grown worldwide go to waste. This staggering number is especially tragic considering that one in nine people in the world suffer from chronic undernourishment, including one in approximately 650 people in developed countries.

You can make a difference in your community by using some of the following suggestions to share the food you grow.

Donate to Charitable Organizations

Many different organizations will welcome your extra fruit and vegetables, such as food banks, homeless shelters, community or seniorsí centers, spiritual groups and churches, or home-delivered meal programs.

AmpleHarvest.org has an extensive listing of different organizations throughout the United States that will accept extra produce. You can search for one near you on their website.

FeedingAmerica.org also has a searchable listing of food banks throughout the U.S.

Contact Your Local Gleaners

Gleaning is the act of collecting fresh foods from farms, gardens or other sources to share it with those in need. Many communities have a gleaning group that can come to your home and collect your excess produce.

Food Rescue has a listing of groups you can contact in the U.S., or you can search the internet for groups in other countries.

Canít find any gleaners near you? The United States Department of Agriculture has published a good guide on how to start your own gleaning program.

Put Up a Stand

A simple table on your front lawn with some veggies and a ďFreeĒ sign on it should encourage most of them to find a new home.

A more elaborate option is to build a stand or booth to shade your fruit and vegetables. You could also add a basket or lockbox for donations to your favorite charity in exchange.

Feed It to Your Pets and Livestock

Your animal friends donít need to miss out on your harvest. Many pet birds, rodents, horses, goats, reptiles and other animals would appreciate your extra produce. Itís even been shown that some vegetables are healthy for dogs.

Related: Best & Worst Fruits and Veggies for Pets

Advertise Your Bounty

RipeNear.Me is a great site designed for home growers to share their overabundance with others. You can choose to give away your produce or charge a fee for it.

You can also advertise to trade, give away or sell your extra fruit and veggies in your local newspaper, community newsletter or online at sites like Freecycle.org, Kijiji.ca, EbayClassifieds.com, or Craigslist.org.

Community sites like Nextdoor or your community Facebook page are other excellent places to post.

Organize a Group Cook-off

Cooking big batches of food is a fun excuse to get together with friends and try making something new. And the best part is, everyone has some healthy meals to take home for later.

Check out MamaBake.com for suggestions on organizing group cooking and some big batch recipes.

Itís also a great idea to donate extra prepared food you make to a neighbor in need.

Host a Meal

This can be as basic as inviting a few friends over for a meal featuring lots of your home-grown fruit and vegetables.

If youíre interested in something a bit more ambitious, try hosting a pop-up restaurant. You can register on sites like EatWith.com that matches up hosts and diners to share meals worldwide.

Swap with Other Gardeners

Ask your friends, neighbors and around your community to find people interested in trading their excess fruit and veggies with yours.

You can also throw a produce swapping party and invite guests to bring their overabundance to be redistributed.

Check out programs like Food Is Free that helps communities grow and share fresh food.

Donate to Animal Rescue Organizations

Certain animal shelters can use excess fruit and veggies to feed plant-eating animals like rabbits, guinea pigs, parrots, iguanas and turtles. Check with your local shelters to see if they have these types of animals before bringing over your produce.

Save Your Seeds

Itís not a loss if your crops have become over-mature or gone to seed. Thatís a great time to keep them for harvesting seeds for next year.

You can also give your seeds to organizations like Seed Savers Exchange or Seedsave.org, who work towards saving and distributing non-GMO, heirloom and organic seeds for now and into the future.

Another option is to start a seed library for your local community. Shareable has detailed instructions on how to create your own seed lending library.

Recycle Your Produce

Thereís no shame in rounding up your bolted lettuce and the zucchinis that somehow grew 3 feet long, and tossing them on your compost pile. All their goodness will go towards nourishing next yearís bountiful crop.

Related
9 Mistakes to Avoid When Planting a New Vegetable Garden
10 Hot Ideas for a Drought-Resistant Garden
Edible Landscaping: A Delicious Way to Garden

 

56 comments

Louise A
Louise A15 days ago

Thanks for sharing

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Carl R
Carl Rabout a month ago

Thanks!!!

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Jan S
Jan Sabout a month ago

thanks

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Stephanie s
Stephanie sabout a month ago

Thank you

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Stephanie s
Stephanie sabout a month ago

Thank you

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Sonia M
Sonia M1 months ago

Great article with good suggestions,thanks for sharing

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Margie F
Margie FOURIE1 months ago

The little that is not consume by myself and my animals, goes on the compost heap.

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Jaime J
Jaime J1 months ago

Thank you!!

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William C
William C1 months ago

Thank you.

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Janet B
Janet B1 months ago

Thanks

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