If you decided to pick up gardening as your chosen COVID-19 hobby, you might be considering what to do with all that extra produce you just harvested. Sure you could give it to friends and family, but perhaps consider donating that overflow since you’re so #blessed.
Thanks to a Colorado non-profit called Fresh Food Connect, you can use that new hobby to do some good for your community. Fresh Food Connect allows for gardeners to donate produce from their plots that they don’t think they’ll use. The non-profit volunteers will pick up any food you decide to donate and then hand it off to one of their food distribution partners. The distribution centers then get the produce out to wherever it is needed.
“The more users we have on the gardening side, the more folks we can get the food to and the more we can serve the community,” Helen Katich, who runs Fresh Food Connect, told Westword. As far as donating to the program, you should “garden and think about the abundance and what you can share.”
When Fresh Food Connect first began in 2016, it focused on delivering fresh foods to Denver neighborhoods. However, as they began to partner with food rescue and hunger relief organizations, they spread chapters all over Colorado, even as far as Durango.
“This program is for (the) community by community,” Katich said. “These groups are really phenomenal.”
With the effects of COVID, Fresh Food Connect is currently looking for more distribution partners to spread its reach. Because of COVID-19, many people are stuck at home rummaging for ways to occupy their time and have resorted to new hobbies like gardening. In fact, the trend blew up so much that consumers depleted many seed companies’ supply of products.
“It’s the largest volume of orders we have seen,” one seed supplier told the Washington Post. At one point, his company processed about 4,500 orders a day, double the usual demand which peaks in the spring. The supplier even closed their website for three days and stopped taking any orders so staff could catch up with the long backlog of orders.
While COVID’s impact has obviously been negative in many ways, this new interest in activities like gardening resulted in a sea of new opportunities for organizations like Fresh Food Connect. Now that more people are growing, there’s more food that can be shared amongst people who need it.
“When you look collectively, it’s more than (someone’s) two and a half pounds of food; it turns into something beautiful,” Katich said.
To learn more about how to get involved, visit Fresh Food Connect’s website for more information or download the Fresh Food Connect app.