When my husband and I were looking at houses, we knew we wanted a place with a backyard. A place where I could plant a garden — in the ground. Imagine our excitement when we found our current home that came with two lemons trees, two apple trees, a plum tree, a yellow grapefruit tree, a mandarin orange tree, and a FIG tree! I LOVE FIGS! I love them so much that I really don’t want to share them when it is time to harvest.
However, come harvest, the abundance of figs is so overwhelming I can’t eat them, can them, or give them away fast enough! Also, last year, our summer garden produced a bevy of pole beans which I also had trouble consuming in a timely fashion. This year, we found a way to resolve the issue of over abundance.
We found a local non-profit organization that will, upon request, collect our extra fruit. They in turn donate the fruit to local food banks. Last weekend, we harvested half of our lemon tree and a volunteer from The Urban Farmers stopped by to collect the fruit. It was that simple!
What happens to the donation?
The donated fruit or vegetables are made available to impoverished or low income families. They may also be used in soup kitchens for meal preparation. In low income communities, access to fresh fruit and vegetables may be difficult to non-existent. According to FeedingAmerica.org, one in five children does not know where they will find their next meal. Also, the Department of Agriculture reported in 2011 more than 50 million Americans had difficulty putting food on the table.
It is difficult for me to imagine not having access to fresh fruit or vegetables. As a kid, I was fortunate to spend many summers growing up on my grandfather’s farm. He had a small vineyard and sold the grapes to local wine makers. The farm also had a pig (sometimes two), chickens, a beautiful walnut tree, and a small modest garden.
When I was bored or just looking for him, I knew to check the garden first. I would find Grandpa amongst the corn stalks or crouched down among the vegetables. One of my most cherished childhood memories include biting into a fresh watermelon from Grandpa’s garden with my cousin as we sat on the dusty cement porch spitting out seeds. With shirts stained pink from the juice and sticky hands, we washed ourselves off with the garden hose before taking our Barbies on their next adventure.
In fact, many of my memories of Grandpa are centered around the farm, his cooking and the bounty of fruit and vegetables. Everyone should have access to fresh fruit and vegetables. If you have excess fruit or vegetables every season, please consider making a donation.
Sample California Resources
- The Urban Farmers, San Francisco’s East Bay Area
- Village Harvest, Greater San Francisco Bay Area
- Soil Born Farms, Sacramento Area
- Second Harvest Food Bank, San Joaquin and Stanislaus Counties
- Merced County Food Bank, Merced County
- Food Forward, Hollywood Area
- Fruit For All, Arcadia, Ca
- SoCal Harvest, Long Beach, Ca and surrounding areas
Or contact your local food bank to inquire!