In August the weeds may have slowed down a bit and we’ve moved forward in time when the sun isn’t quite as hot, and there can be a lot of produce ripening. Have you been wondering what you can do with excess crops from your garden? You missed National “sneak some zucchini into your neighbors porch day” on August 8, but you can easily donate produce to local food pantries.
Jews were subsistence farmers when many of the laws were recorded. Pe’ah, leaving the edges of one’s field for donation, is a guiding principle in Jewish agricultural law, which were the laws of the land.
Our gardens offer excellent opportunities for us to support the food insecure in our communities today.
There are many ways to go about donating fresh produce and it is in high demand for those with limited access. The best way to donate is to contact your local pantry and see what their needs are as well as how to donate to them. A great resource for finding a local pantry that has the means to take produce donations is through Ample Harvest. With a zip code search, you can find food pantries near you with capacity for distributing produce. Similarly to how you are asked not to donate expired dry goods, don’t just donate your overripe, bruised, or damaged produce.
Cynthia Scott, Director of Operations at the Wellesley Food Pantry, says they have one consistent community garden that donates produce and they are always open to more produce; “we will take anything!” While the Wellesley Food Pantry specifically asks for produce donations on Tuesday mornings between 8 and 8:45 a.m. to distribute later that same day, A Place to Turn in Natick is open to receive donations between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. Monday through Thursday. While A Place to Turn is always happy to receive donations from home gardeners and local community gardens and farms, they also purchase some produce and frozen vegetables to ensure that everything they distribute has nutritional value. Family Table, of JF&CS, only distributes food once a month, so they don’t want to be receiving produce every week.
Think about donating longer lasting produce such as zucchini, winter squash, potatoes, cucumber, peppers, onion, melons, broccoli, cabbage, sweet potatoes, carrots, and green beans. Overall the most important thing to do when donating your produce is to be in touch with the local pantry to find out their specific requirements and guidelines.
Even in these time of Covid, as we’re more aware of hygiene and safety guidelines, we all still need to eat.
Happy growing and happy donating!