Minnesota may not make it easy for gardeners to grow fresh food here. The dramatic changes in temperatures, late frosts and short growing seasons, certainly doesn’t help. But many gardeners still manage to produce a wonderful array of crops from their back yards. But what happens when you end up with too much produce left over from your fruit and vegetable garden? If you still have plenty left over, then why not donate some to a food program? Many food banks and pantries appreciate donations of homegrown fresh produce. Donating your produce prevents food from going to waste while providing fresh and nutritious food to local families.
Donating fresh produce
Before delivering your produce, you should check with the food bank or pantry first. Make sure they accept fresh produce and if they are happy to receive what you have to offer. Always handle fresh fruits and vegetables safely to reduce any risk of foodborne illness. Also, only offer high quality, freshly picked fruits and vegetables. Never donate any produce that’s bruised, overripe, has insect damage or mold. Wipe as much dirt off as possible, but don’t rinse as this could cause the produce to spoil much sooner. Remember many people receiving food from food banks and pantries may be particularly vulnerable, including children, seniors and people suffering from illnesses or chronic disease. So, ensure that you store all produce appropriately. You can use ice to help the produce stay chilled and fresh on the way to the food bank or food pantry.
Why donate to a food program?
About 42.2 million Americans live in food insecure households, including 29.1 million adults and 13.1 million children. Food insecurity describes those who do not have access to enough food for all the members of their household. In fact, around 31% of Americans struggle to keep up with basic living expenses. This, of course, includes essentials like fresh and healthy food, according to a report by The Federal Reserve.
Help another family to eat well
Don’t let any leftover produce from your garden go to waste. Instead, once you’ve harvested it keep it chilled so it stays fresh and as soon as possible donate it to your local food bank program. Donating fresh produce is more than simply getting rid of leftovers. You will be helping a local family to have a healthy and nutritious diet. Shouldn’t every family have that?
This post was written by Sally Keys in collaboration with Ice Maker Pros.