COMMUNITY GARDEN DONATIONS
Community Food Share, in collaboration with Earth’s Table, encourages volunteers and community members to grow and harvest produce for donation. There is an abundance of produce grown every year by volunteer-run, backyard, and community gardens. Often the people growing don’t always know what to do with their excess produce.
After the growing season each year, Community Food Share receives donations of seeds from local stores and packers. These seeds are organized and saved for the spring when they are offered to our partner, Earth’s Table, as well as other volunteers. Local home gardeners are encouraged to plant extra from the free seeds offered to them for donation. Presentations at local community gardens were also offered to inform garden members of the capacity of food banks and pantries to receive fresh produce. Giving more information to the gardeners about the ability to donate fresh produce helps in the summer when they find themselves with extra harvest.
Earth’s Table is a partner non-profit of Community Food Share. Back in 1999, the group of volunteers who still run the gardens today started with one mission: to grow food for hungry people. We encourage volunteers who find themselves without a garden of their own to help out with Earth’s Table in one of their 6 gardens around Boulder. These gardens are located on private land that was generously donated to the Earth’s Table group to use. Produce from these garden sites is donated to Community Food Share and two other partner agencies in the Boulder area. The first year VISTA worked diligently to get Earth’s Table more organized and secure more recurring groups of volunteers to assist in their gardens as they now have more gardens than before. The combination of more volunteer support, as well as more gardens sites, allowed for the 2017 growing season to be their most successful yet.
Community Food Share (CFS) is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit food bank serving Boulder and Broomfield Counties in Colorado since 1981. Last year Community Food Share distributed close to 10 million pounds of healthy, nutritious food to food insecure individuals and families through its 42 partner agencies and pantries as well as its three direct distribution programs. The quality and freshness of the food is a strong focus of the organization with the goal of fresh produce accounting for 35% of distribution.
In 2016, Community Food Share brought on a Harvest Against Hunger VISTA to put more focus on the Garden Share programs. During the 2017 season the VISTA brought in 17,300 more pounds than the previous season without the VISTA. Garden Share encompasses several growing and harvesting programs that bring fresh, local produce into the food bank. The Community Garden Donations is a collaboration with Earth’s Table, a nonprofit community of gardeners who maintain several garden sites around the Boulder area. The volunteers of the Earth’s Table group grow everything from seed to harvest to help feed hungry people by donating to Community Food Share and a few other local agencies. This program also encourages home and community gardeners to share their bounty from their backyards and community gardens. The Farm to Food Bank program works with local, regional and state farmers to bring in fresh produce, meat and dairy items to the food bank. Many of these farmers work with a culled produce recovery program, donating excess product already harvested from their fields. Some smaller local Boulder County farmers have even participated in the Monday Produce Pick-Up program, started by the VISTA, to collect excess produce from farms that did not have the staff time to deliver the product to the warehouse. The Gleaning program also works with some of these farms that do not have the labor or resources to collect all the produce out of their field but see the potential of the amount of food left that can be recovered. Farms will contact Community Food Share, and the VISTA will also reach out to farms to request for groups to come and gather the produce.