Share the Harvest

With the season of giving right around the corner, why not consider donating your fresh locally grown produce?

Produce on display for selection by Vital Bridges Food clients

NeighborSpace has partnered with the Greater Chicago Food Depository to develop the Share the Harvest Initiative. Share the Harvest aims to partner community gardens with local emergency food assistance agencies. Gardens will have the opportunity to donate their extra harvest to those in their community that need it most. Participating gardens will also take part in a bigger movement to create healthy communities, where nutritious and fresh produce is available no matter where you live.Several community gardens throughout Chicago are already sharing their harvest with food pantries, soup kitchens, and WIC offices.

Ginkgo Organic Garden donates around 1,500 lbs of produce to Vital Bridges, a local food pantry a few miles from the garden. After harvesting, gardeners deliver the produce by bicycle to the pantry. They stay and talk to the clients about the produce and share tips about how to cook or store the produce.

The White Rock Gleaning Program initiated by KAMII is another successful donation program. Gleaning is an ancient tradition of collecting the leftovers from a field that has already been harvested for other purposes. Community gardeners in Hyde Park and Woodlawn choose to opt in the program by placing a white rock in their beds. A team of volunteers will then glean the extra produce for donation. Approximately 1,000 pounds of gleaned produce was donated this season.

As you start putting your garden to bed for the winter, think about how your garden might be able to help feed families in need in your community. Look out for more information here about Share the Harvest, including a workshop on starting your own donation program!