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2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit

AmpleHarvest.org, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Coronavirus Relief Food Banks, Environment, Food, Food Banks & Pantries

Mission: AmpleHarvest.org eliminates food waste, hunger and malnutrition in America by educating, encouraging and empowering growers to share their excess harvest with thousands of local food pantries instead of letting it rot in the garden.

Results: Founded by CNN Hero and World Food Prize nominee Gary Oppenheimer in mid 2009, AmpleHarvest.org has already registered more than 8,400 (1 out of every 5) food pantries in America. Has identified the magnitude of the garden food waste problem by way of a two year study (www.AmpleHarvest.org/Study) Is creating $200M impact annually (food plus health benefits) Has created Food Waste Weekend to enable clergy of all faiths to help their congregations learn about ending food waste. AmpleHarvest.org has received backing and support from the White House, Google, the USDA, numerous faith organizations and the Feeding America network of food banks.

Target demographics: end food waste in home/community gardens, reduce hunger, and reduce the environmental impact of the waste of food

Direct beneficiaries per year: millions of gardeners help more than 8,400 food pantries (food banks, food shelves, and food closets) nationwide

Geographic areas served: all 50 states

Programs: AmpleHarvest.org (www.AmpleHarvest.org) which is educating, encouraging and enabling millions of gardeners to end the waste of 11 billion pounds of food by finding a local food pantry eager for their excess garden produce. Food Waste Weekend (www.FoodWasteWeeend.org) educating and enabling clergy of all faiths to learn about food waste and then do sermons about it Centerpieces for Pantries (www.AmpleHarvest.org/holiday) to educate and encourage people to use food centerpieces on their holiday dinner table... to then be donated to a local food pantry the next day Keynote Speakers (www.AmpleHarvest.org/speaker) to educate and inspire people about their own opportunity to reduce food waste and hunger by looking at how one unique program did it. Also includes a free college colloquium

Community Stories

70 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Board Member

Rating: 5

AmpleHarvest.org is unique in that it is solving for multiple issues, hunger, climate change, and malnutrition, by making it easier for ordinary people to simply share excess produce from their gardens. Facilitating this connection makes this mission scalable globally and helps to make this practice into a routine. Incredible mission, incredible organization.

Donor

Rating: 5

Fantastic concept and incredible execution. Cannot speak more highly of the cause, organization and people involved!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Exceptional service! A great platform with a high commitment to ending food waste and hunger!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This is a fantastic non-profit with an innovative approach to end hunger and food waste with technology.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Ample Harvest is a great organization run by great people!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Ample Harvest is a great organization for a great cause!

Board Member

Rating: 5

A great non-profit with an innovative approach to an everlasting problem. Gary and the team are an inspiration to work with and look forward to seeing how much more progress can be made in the years to come!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

AmpleHarvest.org is one of those rare organizations that provides an astounding impact by leveraging an extremely lean organizational structure. It also has effectively applied existing technologies to get food that otherwise would be wasted into the hands of people who can really use it.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Worked with AmpleHarvest.org for last three years. Great organization. Very committed to ameliorating hunger via backyard and community gardeners.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

AmpleHarvest.org is a unique organization solving a problem that few are paying attention to ie getting the excess fresh produce form 42 million gardeners to hungry Americans. They operate extremely efficiently and are completely dedicated to their mission of reducing food waste and ending hunger in the US.

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Board Member

Rating: 5

An incredible journey as a non-profit - helps local gardeners donate their extra produce to local pantries - many can easily do a good thing! Easy to spread the word and show what a great organization this is.

Jamie W.2

Donor

Rating: 5

Ample Harvest has helped us be able to reach out and give a hand up to others. Their FB page is a great place to learn as well. They help with making sure there is less food waste, places for us to donate fresh produce, and that people get to enjoy the basic things many take for granted - produce. They sent us seeds this year for donating use. That little packet of seeds..we took it to the local womens shelter and built raised beds with small fencing for the beans to grow on, added tomato plants, a herb garden and added marigolds/flowers for both pest control and to help the plants, bell peppers, squashes, zuchinnis, okra, 7 types of melons, and corns. We also made a small compost area with them. The residents enjoyed the control it allowed them to do this, the peacefulness of gardening, being able to teach their children how to garden and the fruits of their labor. There was a need we didnt know existed - til that little packet of seeds came in the mail. Thank you.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

. I love this. Food waste in the US is astronomical. By giving left over fresh ptoduce to pantries helps in so many ways. Feeds the hungry while giving them fresh food that they never get.. The nutrition is great. Saving seeds to hzve continued fresh vegetables is what is needed.

Donor

Rating: 5

THIS nonprofit is amazing! So much growth, like a ripple in a pond. Happy to support them. Would only like to see more (free) publicity. And please disregard my first response, they FAR EXCEED my expectations! Thank you.

Ingeborg O.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Ample Harvest connects gardeners with local food pantries for donating excess harvested produce. It's a great service for the community.

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General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

ample harvest is a very atypical "commercial" organization: it costs nothing for parties to join. it requires only sharing contact information online between gardeners who wish to donate excess produce and local food pantries that offer fresh vegetables and fruit to the needy, how often does one find that in this highly ceo-$-focused world?

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General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Great service nationally!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Connecting food growers with pantries. Need more support in making even more connections to reduce waste and feed more people

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

They are connecting growers with hungry people, and spreading the message about food insecurity and solutions.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

They successfully make it possible and easy for producers and recipients to help each other. Excess produce to those in need while it's fresh.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Ample Harvest is an amazing concept turned into a very successful way to help those who need help with healthy eating for the neediest.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

All is well

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

They are getting extra crops into the hands of food pantry's. They found the bridge to make that happen. They can't improve much better than they're doing it now.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Helping to reduce food waste and bring healthy produce to feed those less fortunate. More food banks to accept these type of donations in South Florida where the growing season is during the winter.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I can't offer improvements but positively it is one of the few resources that addresses peoples nutritional needs while also providing much needed food. Healthy option!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Feeding the hungry with free locally-harvested food is a win-win!

Donor

Rating: 5

With the recent news of the dangers of climate change it's more important than ever to make sure everyone gets the sustenance they deserve. AmpleHarvest.Org is leading the way to a better planet.

Board Member

Rating: 5

One of the best solutions to food insecurity, leveraging gardeners, to increase both the quantity and quality of the nutrition in our local communities. I took advantage of the great research of AmpleHarvest.org to find a local food pantry to donate my excess produce, and I've been donating ever since. I've also developed a deeper connection to this food pantry. It's a great non-profit, and if you're a gardener or a food pantry, check it out.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Reducing food loss across America in a way no other program does. Great example for other nonprofits. Needs more exposure.

Previous Stories

Donor

Rating: 5

Doing amazing work to get freshly harvested food to 1000's of food pantries. Every $ I donate worthwhile. Gamechanger solution to hunger

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General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

AmpleHarvest.org is eliminating food waste by connecting gardeners to food pantries desperately in need of fresh food. The impact is immense.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Ample Harvest is doing the essential work of bring together local growers with local food pantries to 1. eliminate waste; 2. end hunger; 3. grow resilient communities. There are a great many organisations working to address hunger in America, but Ample Harvest takes a systems approach that creates the essential conditions for long-term change in a way that no other organisation in the field does. I am proud to support Ample Harvest, and encourage everyone with an interest in being of service to check out their model, and support them in whatever way they can.

Board Member

Rating: 5

As a board member and an avid gardener, AmpleHarvest.org certainly addresses two chronic needs: 1) eliminating food waste from a successful home garden season harvest and 2) healthfully feeding those in need of nutritious food options. It is a brilliant idea which I am a proud supporter.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The team is tireless and deeply innovative! They find ways to leverage existing systems and operate within an efficient model to provide immediate, sustainable solutions to the issue of food insecurity. And they have a specific focus on scalability.

Board Member

Rating: 5

They are successfully creating a resource for people to find food pantries that accept fresh produce to help reduce food waste and hunger.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I do not personally have a garden, but I know about this organization since its inception. I think ampleharvest.org is a wonderful nonprofit where gardeners donate food from their gardens that they cannot use personally to food pantries that need fresh fruits and vegetables. I know it helps a great number of people.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Ampleharvest.org has a great mission. They help promote food banks and connect people to them. They help to prevent waste and provide more nutritious food to the people that need it most.

Jennifer W.3

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I was thankful to find ampleharvest.org. It was easy to locate a place I could bring my extra garden harvests too from their website. The cause is great and really simple but incredibly needed. I’m a small backyard gardener so no large batches.
Unfortunately i could only find a food bank which would reply from the list. They were always grateful and assured me they did have small orgs who would come and use the herbs and veggies. In a larger community I think I would be able to find small dinnertime pantries where small batches might be very useful. Maybe there should be some review or checkin on the pantries signing up. 3 in my 15 mile radius didn’t return calls or emails when I reached out to ask when I could bring in harvests.

I will continue to be part of the effort through ampleharvest.org no matter where I live! It’s easy and a great cause to volunteer with!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

They do wonderful work! Helping to get fresh produce into food pantries is a win win for everyone.

Board Member

Rating: 5

AmpleHarvest.org is helping to fill a gap with many food pantries. Fresh produce is typically hard to find at food pantries, relying on more shelf stable products. Now AmpleHarvest.org is helping connect local sources of produce, mainly local gardeners with their local food pantries. Visit our website to connect with AmpleHarvest.org.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Helping make durable connections between those with excess food and those in need of it; with little infrastructure cost

Board Member

Rating: 5

AmpleHarvest.org operates a tech platform to eliminate food waste by linking food pantries and gardeners with excess produce. It's a highly efficient way to match hungry people with nutritious food and an important tool in battling food insecurity in the US.

Board Member

Rating: 5

AmpleHarvest has done a great job of making it easy to find where to donate my excess garden produce. I wish they could tell more people what they do.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The staff is excellent--very caring and helpful. They are doing important work and seem to genuinely believe in the mission at a very personal level.

1 Janice49

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Innovative approach to reducing food waste. Making a significant impact to provide fresh food to reduce poverty and alleviate starvation.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

The amazing work this organization does is changing our food system.

Most other charities spend their time and energy (and money) trying to respond to problems - over and over which is all well and good, but AmpleHarvest.org actually works to fix the system that is creating the problems in the first place.

Instead of buying food and feeding people, AmpleHarvest.org works to help America use the fresh food it already has first. Why didn't anyone think of that before?

My donation is spent on fixing a broken system and not just patching it. I'm paying for technology and talent to fix the system but not for food! Wow!

Been donating every year since AmpleHarvest.org started - thrilled to see its growth, impact and energy. It's been money very well spent.

1 Mary393

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

After retirement I was in search of a new way to give back to the world. When I heard the AmpleHarvest.org story and mission, I knew this was the non-profit I wanted add to my list of charities to support. I think everyone in America is aware of how much fresh food we waste amidst the problem of people of millions being food insecure. AmpleHarvest.org is working hard to change that scenario. Please check out their website and read more about the ingenious way AmpleHarvest.org connects gardeners to local food pantries to end hunger and malnutrition. They have my solid vote for No Food Left Behind.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I find AmpleHarvest.org to be a wonderful, free resource for both gardeners and food pantries! It affords gardeners an opportunity to donate their extra vegetables that would have otherwise been wasted and it helps pantries get much need fresh produce to their clients. It's a win-win for everyone!

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Wonderful organization that helps fill food pantry shelves with fresh produce.

2

Donor

Rating: 4

I've watched AmpleHarvest.org from its inception, growing to over 7000 food pantries registered to receive fresh produce. It's such an efficient way to both eliminate the waste of food and to help feed those who need it.

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General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

At the most basic level, it's a practical solution to multiple issues - hunger, food insecurity, overall health, and elimination of waste. It's amazing that such a 'simple' idea can cover so much ground!

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

AmpleHarvest.org tackles big issues like food waste, hunger, and malnutrition in a most innovative way. I believe it's the most important tool for any gardener!

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

When I set out to push a STEM agenda in volunteering, I quickly found that the undercurrent that was pulling the whole effort down was stress students feel in homes that are challenged by food. If you aren't eating well, you aren't paying attention at school -- no amount of pushing is going to help.

AmpleHarvest appealed to me as the right approach to take by leveling technology to create a 10x multiple -- each dollar in results in FAR FAR FAR more food being distributed to people in need. This was far better than any other food program I investigated.

The team is driven, hardworking, and extremely cost sensitive. It amazes me to see how far our executive director takes each dollar. This makes being both a donor and a board member the right way to spend my time. If we make AmpleHarvest successful, we don't just solve a food crisis, we solve an education crisis. Awesome.

1 Ron_43

Board Member

Rating: 5

AmpleHarvest.org is a great organization that very efficiently supports over 7400 pantries nationwide by helping them get healthy and fresh produce to those who desperately need it.
What I like about the organization is that they use internet technology as well as social media to really leverage their reach and effectiveness. This organization provides more value in this area than the mega non profits in the hunger space on a minimal budget that would be comparable to a local single city non profit (probably less than most of those). Their founder is very conscientious about costs and is very diligent about making sure organizational overhead does not get in the way of effectively doing it's job. My only disappointment about Ample Harvest is that it has far less funding than it should. This is definitely an organization worth getting behind.

1 Etta E.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

With so many people in need in America, it hurts to know that so much good food is being thrown out. Now gardeners everywhere are empowered to do something better with their excess produce. The website makes it easy to find a place to donate your food. In fact, the find-a-pantry page is not just used by gardeners, but a variety of individuals and groups - from people in need of food assistance, to corporations that have food to donate, and even other nonprofits concerned with hunger. Thank you, AmpleHarvest.org!

3

Advisor

Rating: 5

Its amazing when someone finds a solution that seems so simple yet no one has put it into place. AmpleHarvest.org is like that. Simple: a gardener has too many cucumbers (tomatoes, etc.), goes to AmpleHarvest.org on the Web, finds their local pantry, and takes their excess produce to the pantry. Voila! Fresh food for those in need; the gardener feels great about making a difference. No waste. No trucks. Amazing. AmpleHarvest.org founder, staff, and board are tireless workers. This is a charity worth supporting and worth watching.

3 Joe_19

Board Member

Rating: 5

I became acquainted with AmpleHarvest.org after we filmed an episode featuring the work they do. I'm the Exec. Producer and host of Growing a Greener World. We were impressed! Founder Gary Oppenheimer is passionate about making this organization accessible to growers and those in need of fresh produce. After experiencing his boundless enthusiasm and his genuine desire to help end hunger, I wanted to help beyond just airing the episode to a national audience. Little did I know that would include an invitation by Gary to serve on the Board. I've received several invitations to serve on other boards, but this is the first one I've ever accepted. I've now served for about a year. In that time, I've been impressed by every aspect of their mission and efforts to help spread awareness for what they do, along with how to reach an even greater audience. Currently, they're still a lean organization with great capacity if given the opportunity for the financial resources they need to really break through. At current financial levels, they're barely scratching the surface on the potential. They could do so much more with additional and funding.

2 Marnie V.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

AmpleHarvest.org is a non-profit that genuinely believes in their mission and works endlessly to fight hunger in America. Gary Oppenheimer has boundless energy devoted to AmpleHarvest.org. The world needs more organizations like this one!

2

Donor

Rating: 5

I work with the AmpleHarvest.org campaign and have also used the Find a Local Food Pantry tool for gardeners to find several pantries in my community to bring produce donations to. AmpleHarvest.org helps to provide a sustainable solution to a serious problem; hunger across America. There are millions of gardeners in this country and if they're like the ones in my circle of family and friends, they've got excess produce that needs a home. Those in homes who regularly face bare shelves are more than excited to receive fresh delicious fruits and vegetables. It offers the opportunity for grassroots efforts to make an immediate and tangible difference. Not only does this campaign fight hunger, but also malnutrition by providing a healthy alternative full of essential vitamins and minerals which might otherwise be lacking in a diet dependent upon the processed foods often found on pantry shelves. AmpleHarvest.org offers a positive environmental impact as well by eliminating methane gas from produce that might otherwise be thrown away and left to rot, and because it's based on neighbors providing nutrition for neighbors, it cuts down on greenhouse gas emissions that would otherwise have been generated from long distance transport of food. In today's economy, food pantries are finding it increasingly difficult to find food. It costs a gardener pennies to grow a plant from seed and the bounty can provide food for months. Once local gardeners and farmers connect with their local food pantries, a continuous loop of giving is created for years to come. AmpleHarvest.org offers wonderful tools for food pantries and gardeners at absolutely no cost. That, combined with outreach and education efforts to create awareness about hunger in America, makes this a non-profit certainly deserving of 5 stars.

2 Otilia Z.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Last year I finally started planting the garden I always wanted. I had heard of AmpleHarvest's challenge to plant some extra so I put down 15 tomato plants instead of 5, and full packages of seeds where I only needed about 1/4 of the package. It turns out that we have so many families hurting in town financially that my extra produce never even made it to food pantries. I was simply delivering the bounty to local senior citizens that needed the food or having unemployed friends show up to help gather the harvest and take some home to their families. No-one was turned away, and the efforts of my little spade fed 10 families in need as well as my own. This year my 4-H students are going to assist with planting as well, and we hope for even more harvest to share. To that end we are trying to organize a seed swap in February to hook up gardeners with extra space with free seeds to plant. We are also gonig to ask for help from our local agricultural extension. Ample Harvest shows us we can work together to be good stewards of the land as well as each other. Celeste Hampton, The West Milford 4-H Velveteen Rabbit Club

1 David W.

Board Member

Rating: 5

In addition to the obvious benefit of providing food to the hungry, AmpleHarvest.org helps to connect people through the provision of a basic commodity - food. It taps into the essential "human- ness" of us all and our need to nurture and support one another. The program makes it easy for us all to do just that - share what we have with others to improve their situation and to meet an important human need of our own - to provide support and nurturing to others. When I was approached with a donation of three bushel baskets of lettuce, I was impressed with his generosity and overwhelmed with his with happiness and satisfaction in knowing what a difference he has made. AmpleHarvest.org provides the opportunity for this community of sharing to exist and benefit all.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

AmpleHarvest.org is an amazing organization that connects individuals that have with individuals that need. It's a simple idea that has a major impact on families that need healthy, available food by connecting them will supply right in their local community. By providing fresh produce, families in not only receive sustenance but healthy alternatives to the canned food that pantries usually provide.

2 Naomi

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As a non-profit ED who has worked with small, grass-roots programs for almost 20 years we knew that AmpleHarvest.org was a winner from the first time we heard about their work. Gary Oppenheimer's vision of eliminating hunger with the help of home gardeners is brilliant. Everything about this program is just right--an accomplished founder with vision, technical expertise, and a palpable passion for others; and home gardeners with the ability and desire to share their bounty with others. AmpleHarvest.org solves the ‘excess supply not being able to reach demand’ problem which has always plagued the country’s food bank system. News reports repeatedly share that this country produces sufficient food to feed everyone; AmpleHarvest.org takes a huge step in making that a reality by organizing a previously under-tapped resource.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

As a Master Gardener AND someone well aware of hunger, I was not happy when my prolific garden produced more than we could use... and excess food was left to rot in the garden. Some I was able to give away, but still more was lost.

In 2009, I created AmpleHarvest.org as a way for 40+ million home gardeners like me to be able to find a local food pantry eager for the excess harvest.

For me, the idea of turning dirt into dinner has always had an appeal.

AmpleHarvest.org is now giving millions of our needy neighbors the opportunity to feed their families with the same food we eat.... and in doing so, they are eating
-healthier (lower health care costs for America in the future)
-locally grown (smaller carbon foot print)
-and freshly harvested (kids learn that apples do not naturally come pre-sliced in cellophane and that carrots are not normally mushy)
food contributed by their neighbors.

Furthermore, the waste stream in America is reduced as is the methane emissions from municipal trash dumps.

In every sense of the word, AmpleHarvest.org is neighbors helping neighbors.

It is a one of a kind effort, backed by Google, the USDA, EPA, Rotary Int'l, VFW, AARP and many faith and service organizations across America that enables people to help the needy by reaching into their backyards instead of their back pockets.

4 Concordweb

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am the Director of the St. Vincent dePaul Food Pantry located at St. Peter's Church in Concord, NH. I registered with Ample Harvest a year ago. A local farmer called me last summer and wanted to donate produce to us. We talked and she has become a benefactor. We both got several distributions as the summer and fall progressed, and she invited us to help with the harvest on her farm. One of our volunteers did so, and we have let others know of her offer to share her produce directly with food pantry client families. She had needed help in difficult times earlier in her life and was glad to be able to "give back".
The AmpleHarvest.org concept is helping many farmers and food pantries and I wish it well going forward.

George Weber

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

AmpleHarvest.org is an organization that helps gardeners give extra produce from their garden to a local food pantry. Lots of people in America need food pantries. I know of lots of gardeners with extra food in their gardens, and lots of pantries asking all the time for more food. This organization brings them together. A REALLY smart idea... created by a CNN Hero