How to donate fresh produce to a pantry
National Sneak Some Zucchini on Your Neighbor’s Porch Porch day is over, but you still have an oversupply. What are you doing?
You should collect all those fresh zucchini and any leftover other garden vegetables you may have and give them to your local pantry.
Community gardens, home gardens, and farms can be great sources of fresh local produce for pantries. There is no reason for your abundance of produce to be wasted. Follow the recommended donation guidelines and learn how to find a pantry near you that accepts fresh produce.
Produce a donation
Follow these recommended guidelines when handling, selecting, and transporting the products you wish to donate:
- Give only fresh, good quality produce.
- Do not give products that show signs of mold, spoilage, bruising, or bugs. Do not donate products that you would not feed your family.
- Handle fresh fruits and vegetables safely to minimize the risk of foodborne illness – make sure all pesticides and fertilizers have been washed off before donating and avoid exposure to contaminants.
- If you use pesticides in your garden, be sure to follow label directions before giving any products. Any product that you plan to donate that has been treated with pesticides should be harvested according to the pesticide manufacturer’s recommendations for the time of harvest after the last use.
- Clean mud and dirt from products before donating.
- Do not mix types of products. Separate each type of product into its own food grade container or bag.
- Check with your local pantry before making a delivery to make sure the products are accepted on this site and that the products you wish to donate are needed.
- Before making a delivery, call the pantry at least one day in advance for preferred delivery times. For large deliveries, you can even set up a weekly delivery schedule with the pantry organizers.
Find a pantry
AmpleHarvest.org is a non-profit organization that makes it easy for gardeners and farmers to find local pantries and donate their surplus fresh produce. Use them online pantry register to locate pantries near you by entering your zip code. You should always call ahead to find out which pantries in your area accept and need the products you need to donate and to confirm delivery dates and times.
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