I have friends who live in rural Maine. “We never have to lock our cars when we go out,” they brag. “Except in August.” (pause) “Tourists?” the listener asks. “No. It’s just that if you don’t lock your car, when you come back it’s full of tomatoes and zucchini!”

Too true, too true. As we enjoy the bounty of summer, it’s important to remember that one out of six Americans needs food assistance,* and fresh, nutritious produce is hard to come by in most food pantries.

That’s why AmpleHarvest.org came into being. To connect backyard gardeners with food banks and food pantries that desperately need fresh vegetables for their clients. Using their website, you can look up the location of local food pantries which accept the contribution of home gardeners. Don’t have a garden? Consider buying produce at local farmers’ markets and donating it to a local pantry (the Wrightstown Farmers’ Market has a cooler at the market for just that purpose). Here’s what Ample Harvest is about:

It is a nationwide effort to diminish hunger in America by making it easy for millions of backyard gardeners across the country to quickly find local food pantries eager to receive freshly picked crops for their clients. AmpleHarvest.org enables gardeners to find food pantries within a specified distance of their home and then view the pantries desired day/time for receiving donations. AmpleHarvest.org also displays personalized driving instructions to the pantry as well as (if provided) a photograph of the pantry – making it easier to find. Lastly, for the benefit of gardeners during a non-growing season or anyone else interested in making a donation, AmpleHarvest.org also provides pantries the opportunity to list store bought items they are in particular need of. Although there are a number of excellent programs that help farmers and community gardens get produce to food banks, AmpleHarvest.org is a national campaign focused on helping local gardeners find neighborhood food pantries.

If you live in Central Bucks, consider dropping your fruit and vegetable donations at Carousel Gardens Nursery on Fridays and Saturdays until noon. The donations go to Philabundance, the Philadelphia-based food bank. For more information, visit the nursery’s website. Last year Carousel Gardens collected over 2000 lbs. that went to help the hungry in nine counties including Bucks County. They are located in Carousel Village in Wrighstown on 591 Durham Road/Route 413 (right next to the newest location of oWowCow Creamery).

*AmpleHarvest.org

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