Site Offers Way To Donate Extra Garden Goods

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — In the summertime, fresh garden produce is growing everywhere – even novice backyard gardeners can have a surplus of nutritious vegetables.

But what to do with all that extra zucchini?

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As CBS 2’s Don Dahler found out Monday, there’s a new and easy way to share it with people who are in need.

AmpleHarvest.org was founded when Gary Oppenheimer tried to donate his extra vegetables last year, and couldn’t find a way to get food to hungry families.

“The idea of waste has always bothered me,” Oppenheimer said. “Whether its time, energy or food.”

Here’s how it works: Gardeners type in their zip code and get a list of local registered charities and food pantries willing to accept home grown donations.

“You then contact the pantry, do the delivery when the pantry says they would like to do the delivery, you’re deal with the pantry straight on after that,” Oppenheimer said.

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He donates his bounty to the St. Joseph food pantry in his hometown. Director Marge Waarst says fresh produce is a welcome change.

“We can give them canned foods and we can them a lot of other products,” said Waarst. “But it’s a treat to have something fresh out of the garden.”

And Oppeheimer’s idea is catching on.

The student garden at a Brooklyn High School is just bursting with season vegetables, so much, in fact, that teacher Jenny Kessler and her volunteers can’t use it all themselves.

“There’s only so many cucumbers you can eat in a week,” said Kessler. “Whenever I have farmed or gardened, I’ve always found there to be extra.”

Kessler donates to a pantry in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. She’s never met the people who receive her vegetables but she’s happy to know even the smallest amounts won’t go to waste.

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AmpleHarvest.org is a non-profit organization.