Ample Harvest ended its 2012 season on October 4th. We had a very fruitful season this year - none of our harvests were cancelled due to rain, and we averaged at least 30 pounds of food each week for our local food pantries.
We had many dedicated volunteers who showed up each Friday to harvest. Our local food pantries expressed extreme gratitude for our donations, as did local residents, who contributed the following to the West Milford AIM from September 29th:
- THUMBS UP to West Milford Ample Harvest volunteers helping harvest fresh produce to donate to local food pantries.
- THUMBS UP to Sustainable West Milford for the Organic Community Garden and bringing programs like Ample Harvest to West Milford.
- THUMBS UP to Anne for sharing her land with Sustainable West Milford for the Organic Community Garden.
Ample Harvest West Milford
The national program, AmpleHarvest.org, began in our community garden two years ago as a way to address our “no waste policy.” This national program was founded by SWM member and former Organic Community Garden Director, Gary Oppenheimer. AmpleHarvest.org was created to provide a way for local growers to share their excess bounty with local food pantries and those in need. AmpleHarvest.org at the national level supports nearly 4,000 food pantries across the United States. Here in West Milford, our group supports four local church food pantries and two local shelters from the excess in our community garden.
In our current economy, many families are struggling to make ends meet, and our local food pantries and shelters are experiencing a growing number of families coming to them for help. Sustainable West Milford is looking for local backyard gardeners who may have excess produce they can donate to support those in need. We will include your fresh produce along with what is harvested in our community garden in our donation deliveries to local pantries and shelters right in West Milford to help feed our hungry neighbors. Fresh produce can be dropped off at the Community Garden between 6 pm and 7 pm every Friday from July 8th through October 7th. It is during this time only that West Milford Ample Harvest volunteers are harvesting and packaging produce for delivery. Please note, produce must be fresh and suitable for eating.
Guidelines from AmpleHarvest.org are as follows: On the day of your planned delivery, harvest your crops in the early morning while they still have some of the coolness of the evening air. If they have dew, wipe them dry with a paper towel. Each item should be visually inspected for serious bruising, insect damage, and ripeness. Do not donate produce that you would not buy for your own family. Produce that is overripe, has mushy spots, or is seriously blemished should either be made into a soup, stew, or go into a compost pile but not donated. (Note, if you used any pesticide on your garden, please take the time to clean each piece of produce as recommended by the pesticide manufacturer on the label before you let anyone eat it.)
Gardeners who are unable to donate to the Ample Harvest West Milford program due to scheduling or location can still donate excess produce on their own schedule. Please visit www.AmpleHarvest.org to find a drop off location.
We are always looking for volunteers to join our team. To learn more about the Ample Harvest West Milford Program or how to get involved, please call Cathy Bruce at 973-728-8578. Thank you for sharing!