Home Gardeners In Gulf States Region Can Assist Food Pantries Struggling Due To BP Oil Spill
In response to the economic upheaval caused by the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, AmpleHarvest.org Inc. has announced that the AmpleHarvest.org Campaign will be focusing its outreach efforts in the Gulf States region for the immediate future.
Since its introduction in May of 2009, the AmpleHarvest.org Campaign, enabling more than 40 million Americans who grow fruit, vegetables, herbs and nuts in home gardens to quickly find a local food pantry eager for their excess garden produce, has rolled out nationwide without any specific geographic focus.
According to AmpleHarvest.org Founder Gary Oppenheimer, “In the past 14 months, all states have received the same amount of attention in our effort to register food pantries while also reaching out to local gardeners. To date, nearly 2,400 food pantries across all 50 states have registered.”
Since the Gulf States regions’ economy has been so severely impacted by the oil spill, many more people will be relying on local food pantries to help feed their families – possibly for years to come. The AmpleHarvest.org Campaign is now working closely with food banks from Texas to Florida to help their local food pantries register at AmpleHarvest.org. At the same time, AmpleHarvest.org is also working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Master Gardeners and others to help local growers become aware of the opportunity they have to help their neighbors in need.”
According to David Coffman of the Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana, “AmpleHarvest.org is a tremendous resource to connect food pantries, shelters, and soup kitchens to neighborhood gardeners and farmers. Now, with the ongoing crisis in the Gulf of Mexico, these agencies are experiencing increased demand as families struggle with the uncertainty about their futures and their livelihoods. By using AmpleHarvest.org, agencies and gardeners can provide much needed support through nutritious and high-quality produce.”
With help from a grant from Google Inc., the AmpleHarvest.org Campaign has created a special “ad campaign” targeting regional gardeners to inform them about the opportunity to share their excess harvest with local food pantries.
“The one glimmer of hope in this tragedy is that although it will probably take many years for the Gulf region to fully recover from this, gardeners in this part of the country are able to grow food, and therefore can help out local food pantries, year round,” said Oppenheimer. “For example, LSU AgCenter reports that the state has approximately 349,000 home gardeners. Those gardeners who grow food can make a significant impact on the amount and quality of fresh food available to hungry families.”
Anyone knowing of a food pantry in his or her community should urge the pantry manager to register at AmpleHarvest.org. Food pantries do not need refrigeration for the produce (most produce except for leafy greens will store for several days without refrigeration) and they do not need an Internet connection to take advantage of the AmpleHarvest.org Campaign. There is no cost to the food pantry for participating in the campaign.
AmpleHarvest.org, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization that has received backing and support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Google, Inc., National Gardening Association, the Garden Writers of America, Rotary International, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and numerous faith groups. The AmpleHarvest.org Campaign works to diminish hunger in America by enabling gardeners to easily find a local food pantry eager for their garden bounty. For more information on the campaign visit www.AmpleHarvest.org, call AMPLE-6-9880 (267-536-9880) or follow AmpleHarvest.org on Twitter or Facebook.