Like most gardeners, at different times of the year, I often have more than our family can use, with a large surplus of tomatoes, stone fruits, oranges, grapes, and more. Instead of always giving it to friends and neighbors, the chickens, or having it go to waste, I donate it.
SoCal Harvest is a local volunteer organization in Long Beach, established to allow home gardeners to share extra produce with needy local families. Gardeners can plant an extra row for the hungry and donate to help provide healthy alternative to more than just canned food. It is a branch of FoodFinders, a non profit food bank that distributes food to over 230 agencies in Long Beach and Orange County. They will accept dropped off home grown food donations at the Food Finders’ office at 2301 E 28th St #303 Signal Hill, CA 90755, (562) 598-3003
or you can arrange to have them come buy and pick it up. In addition, they have volunteers come out and harvest a crop if the homeowner is unable to do it for what ever reason. To find out more about SoCal Harvest’s fruit gleaning projects, to volunteer to be a gleaner, or to contact them about a fruit tree that needs picking, go to http://www.socalharvest.org/donate-produce .
If you are looking for a place to start, but aren’t in the Greater Long Beach area, here are some links I have come across in my research.
Where to find programs for gardeners to share their extra vegetable garden or orchard produce and help feed the hungry:
Around the Country–
Ample Harvest (Currently connects gardeners to 1,650 food pantries across all 50 states) A great place to start and find your local food bank.
Backyard Harvest (Paso Robles, CA; Moscow, ID, and Minneapolis, MN)
Village Harvest (Silicon Valley, CA)
Plant a Row for the Hungry (Michigan)
America’s Grow a Row (New Jersey)
Around Southern California-
Backyard Harvest (Santa Barbara)
SoCal Harvest (Long Beach and Orange County)