Martha Stewart Living Radio: The Radio Blog

Vegetable gardeners - share your bounty

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Experienced vegetable gardeners know it, and new veg gardeners will soon discover it: come July and August, you're going to have way more food than you can handle. Cucumbers, beans, tomatoes, and most notoriously, zucchini, can be so productive that even if you are a dedicated cook or canner, you'll hardly be able to keep up with production in a good season. Traditionally, gardeners have always turned to family and neighbors to take their surplus produce, but there is increasing awareness about sharing, and even planting additional vegetables, to help the hungry in your area.


It started in Alaska, of all places, when garden writer Jeff Lowenfels asked the readers of his newspaper column to plant an additional row in their vegetable garden to donate to a local soup kitchen. This led to the Plant A Row For The Hungry program, which has gone nationwide, encouraging home gardeners to grow additional produce in their gardens to provide nutritious, fresh food to help the hungry in their area. Even if you've never seen it, chances are, there is a nearby food bank or soup kitchen that would be glad to take your surplus vegetables. Ampleharvest.org can put you in touch with one in your town, or check out this list of "vegetable philanthropy" links from the University of Maryland for some inspiration (and be sure to bookmark their excellent Grow It, Eat It guide while you're there). If you need some visual inspiration to get going on your veg garden, take a look at our brand-new vegetable gardening information center. It still has that new website smell!

Comments (1)

  • I'm glad you listed AmpleHarvest.org as a resource for people looking to share their excess garden produce.

    Backed by Google and the USDA, AmpleHarvest.org has more than 1,750 participating food pantries with more signing up every day. It even offers a free iPhone app that can you you donate both excess crops as well as store bought items.

    If your community has a food pantry, make sure they have registered at AmpleHarvest.org, providing community support from peoples backyards instead of their back pockets.

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