AmpleHarvest.org at a Glance
There is a lot more to AmpleHarvest.org than meets the eye. It enables hungry people to get food. It enables malnourished people to get healthier food. It improves the environment. It helps build communities. It supports local food sourcing.
And it does it all without costing a dime.
Learn More Below
While more than 50 million Americans live in food insecure homes (including a quarter of all children under the age of six), more than 40 million Americans grow fruit, vegetables herbs and nuts in home gardens - often more than they can use, preserve or give to friends.
It doesn't have to be that way.
Struggling to feed their families, many Americans, both those chronically economically challenged as well as those now impacted by the economic downturn have come to rely on the more than 33,500 food pantries (also called food shelves, food closets, food cupboards or food banks in some areas) across America to help feed their families.
These food pantries, relying on donated and purchased foods, almost never have fresh produce and instead rely on canned or processed produce shipped from across the country at significant cost, both economic and environmental.
At the same time, millions of home and community gardeners nationwide with an abundant harvest do not know that they can share their harvest, do not know how to share their harvest and do not know where to share their harvest. AmpleHarvest.org solves that for them.
AmpleHarvest.org envisions an America where millions of gardeners eliminate malnutrition and hunger in their own community.
AmpleHarvest.org, moving information instead of food to diminish hunger and malnutrition in America, is educating, encouraging and empowering growers to share their excess harvest with the needy in their community instead of letting it rot in the garden.
Our "No Food Left Behind
" goal is a healthier and by extension, wealthier America.
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Currently, 5,991 food pantries across all 50 states are registered to receive a sustainable and recurring supply of freshly harvested, locally grown food (many for the first time) from area growers - for free!
In August 2010 (mid harvest) when AmpleHarvest.org was only 15 months old, a survey of then registered food pantries indicated that more than 3 million pounds of freshly harvested locally grown produce had been donated to food pantries. At the end of 2011, it had increased to more than 20 million pounds.
Millions of pantry clients can feed their family fresh food instead of food packaged with added salt and sugar thereby reducing the likelihood of diet related illness such as diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity.
Children, now at greater risk of obesity than ever before, are exposed to fresh produce with many learning for the first time that apples do not normally come pre-sliced in cellophane, peas come in pods and not cans and carrots are normally sweet and crunchy.
Gardeners across America enjoy the satisfaction of knowing that they are helping their neighbors in need by reaching into their backyard instead of their back pocket.
Families are introduced to new varieties of food they may have had no prior access to.
The carbon footprint of the pantries is reduced as locally sourced food (without packaging or cans trucked across the country that need to be disposed of) is used.
The community waste stream is reduced (taxes too!) as excess food is donated instead of being thrown away thereby also reducing methane emissions (a climate change gas with 20 times the impact of CO2) at trash dumps
All this occurs at no cost to the donor, the community or America.
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The AmpleHarvest.org Campaign has been working closely with many organzations as part of our effort to help more people learn that the solution to hunger in America is in their backyard. A sampling of these collaborations are:
Working together with The White House and Michelle Obama's Let's Move! initiative, we are enabling for millions of people what the First Lady advocates - healthier eating by providing access to the healthy food that would otherwise be unaffordable.
Winner of the Glynwood Wave of the Future 2011 award for innovation and leadership in sustainable agriculture and regional food systems.
Collaborations with a number of organizations such as Campus Kitchens, the National Gardening Association and the Green Education Foundation are focused on helping more children and teenagers learn about healthy eating and have or create access to fresh produce.
Working together with DinnerGarden.org, we are turning people to are today in need of assistance into people who can tomorrow help their neighbors in need.
Working with AARP, we are working to educate, encourage and enable more gardeners to donate excess food from gardens to their neighbors in need.
AmpleHarvest.org and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) have a joint campaign focused on helping more people become aware of the impact of donated fresh food on America's veterans, all to many of whom need the help of local food pantries to help feed their families.
The US Department of Agriculture has been helping to promote AmpleHarvest.org to America's 95,000 Master Gardeners.
The National Council of Churches have been working together to help more food pantries housed in local churches become aware of and register at AmpleHarvest.org.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have been working together to help education Americans on the environmental impact of wasted food.
The Green Education Foundation and AmpleHarvest.org are working together to encourage children to learn to grow food to be donated to pantries as part of the "Plant With A Purpose" program.
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AmpleHarvest.org Inc. is a 501c3
not-for-profit charity incorporated in the State of New Jersey.
In the spirit of doing the greatest good while creating the smallest environmental impact possible, AmpleHarvest.org operates as a virtual enterprise - everyone involved works from their own location of choice and at times of their choosing.
The staff of AmpleHarvest.org Inc. consists of:
Gary Oppenheimer is our Executive Director and Founder. A self described aging geek, he has worked with computers and communications going back to the 1970's. As director of a community garden in 2009, he learned about the wasted food in many plots and created a program called "Ample Harvest" to get the excess food to local food pantries. Realizing this as a nationwide problem, he created a nationwide solution called AmpleHarvest.org to use the Internet educate, encourage and enable millions of growers nationwide to share their ample harvess with local food pantries in all 50 states. Gary can be reached at gary@AmpleHarvest.org.
Emily Fulmer is our Grower Outreach Coordinator. She brings to the table many years of community and faith-based organizing as well as volunteer recruitment and engagement experience. She lives in Memphis, TN and is an active volunteer with GrowMemphis, the region's only grassroots urban gardening and food justice organization. She grows vegetables in her front and back yards and has recently welcomed a small flock of Buff Orpington hens to her young family. Emily can be reached at emily@AmpleHarvest.org.
Holle Kathenes is our Administrative Manager. Her work history includes 17 years in various administrative positions for a large communications company and most recently, she was the Director of Administration for a small animal welfare non-profit. Holle spent many years volunteering for a New Jersey animal welfare organization in which she concentrated on fostering newborns and working the organization's low cost spay/neuter program. She loves animals and also enjoys reading about the latest fashion and accessories trends. Her latest passion is learning about holistic, alternative, naturopathic and nutrition-based wellness therapies and tries to incorporate what she's learned into her own life. Holle aspires to have a small, organic garden in her back yard. Although her first try didn't go so well, she would like nothing more than to create her own garden-to-table experiences. . Holle can be reached at holle@AmpleHarvest.org.
Leanne Mazurick is our Food Pantry Outreach Coordinator. She has worked in higher education for the last 10 years engaging students through volunteer experiences both domestically and internationally. Through these experiences, Leanne gained valuable insight into the complexities of social justice issues that impact so many. Hunger relief and sustainable agriculture are of particular interest to Leanne and she is thrilled to be combining those two passions as Food Pantry Outreach Coordinator for AmpleHarvest.org. Leanne can be reached at leanne@AmpleHarvest.org.
The Board of Directors for AmpleHarvest.org Inc. consists of:
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Gary Oppenheimer, a CNN Hero, lecturer and speaker (including a TED presentation), Huffington Post's "Greatest Person of the Day" and " 2011 Game Changer", winner of the Russell Berrie Foundation's "Making A Difference" award, winner of the Glynwood 2011 "Wave of the Future" award, winner of the 2012 Elfenworks "In Harmony With Hope" award, Echoing Green semifinalist and founder of the AmpleHarvest.org Campaign now makes his home in the mountains of northern New Jersey after having lived on a boat on the Hudson River in Manhattan since 1978. He is also a Master Gardener, Rutgers Environmental Steward, former community garden director, Environmental Commissioner in northern New Jersey, an avid gardener and long distance cyclist.
An early pioneer in the electronic mail industry, MCI Inc. asked Gary in 1985 to help them sell and support the then fledging MCI Mail electronic mail service. Within a few years, he became their largest global sales agent (including producing what is believe to be the first "ezine" - published from 1985 to 1996) - while working from a home office located on the boat.
Aware of the increasing hunger problem in America and, in 2009, after seeing the amount of wasted food in the community garden as well as other gardens around the country, he created the AmpleHarvest.org Campaign - a nationwide effort to enable America's 40+ million home gardeners who grow food to be able to easily find a local food pantry eager for their excess garden bounty.
Named CNN Hero a year later, he was introduced on the Larry King Live show which was followed by a live interview with CNN anchor Ali Velshi.
He has appeared in numerous radio and TV interviews, has spoken at Wharton's Social Responsibility conference, the Food Conference at UC Davis, Jewish Theological Seminary in New York Cty, the Brooklyn Food Conference, and many others.
Gary has also presented AmpleHarvest.org to USDA People's Garden Initiative Conference in Washington DC, hosted a webinar for 100,000 invited USDA employees on gardening and hunger and has been interviewed numerous time by both print and electronic (local and network) media outlets nationwide.
Because AmpleHarvest.org works closely with First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! initiative to improve fresh food access at thousands of food pantries nationwide, he had the opportunity to meet the President and First Lady and she subsequently highlighted AmpleHarvest.org in a speech in early 2012.
In addition to helping AmpleHarvest.org continue its expansion to food pantries and gardeners nationwide, Gary also does public speaking about hunger and the AmpleHarvest.org Campaign, individuals making a difference in their community as well as a variety of environmental topics.
He also enjoys boating, hiking, farming (chickens for eggs and vegetables) and attacking challenges of all sorts. He is a firm believer in the notion that to do the impossible, you must first believe it isn't.
Gary is available for speaking engagements and panel discussions. Contact info@AmpleHarvest.org for more information.
Additional background information about Gary Oppenheimer is available here.
Jennifer Gilmore oversees the strategic growth and program development of Feeding America San Diego (FASD), San Diego's largest distributor of donated food.
Gilmore's passion for hunger relief has given her experience working in food banking for more than a decade. She previously worked at the Community Food Bank of Tucson and the San Diego Food Bank, serving as a volunteer coordinator, agency relations manager, and fundraiser. Gilmore joined FASD in 2007 as the director of operations and the organization's second full-time employee.
As executive director, Gilmore is spearheading efforts to distribute 30 million pounds of nutritious food annually by 2015.
Joe Lamp'l is an industry leader in environmental media and the 2011 recipient of The American Horticultural Society's, B.Y. Morrison Communication Award, which recognizes effective and inspirational communication-through print, radio, television, and/or online media-that advances public interest and participation in horticulture.
His infatuation for horticulture and sustainability is evident to a national audience through his books, including The Green Gardener's Guide, syndicated column, and as host of the popular series, Fresh from the Garden on DIY Network and GardenSMART on PBS. Today, Joe combines his television experience and expertise of gardening, environmental stewardship and passion for living a more eco-friendly life, as creator, host and executive producer of the award-winning national public television series, Growing a Greener World, named by the Garden Writers Association as Best New Digital Product, including television for 2011, while also taking top honors for television writing.
Over the past few decades Ron has been known for his introduction of disruptive technologies and processes in a wide variety of areas including: hardware, software, chip design, insurance (actuarial process patent) and horticulture.
As founder, president, and CEO of MiraLink Corporation, Ron has more than 17 years of experience in the rapidly emerging data storage and recovery industries. He is world-renowned for developing technologies that control the speed and use of memory bandwidth as well as controlling latency and data corruption introduced by distance and standard communications links. This early research developed many of the fundamental solutions required for many of the common cloud computing solutions available today. Ron has been awarded eleven patents in this area.
As an active member of the horticultural community Ron is a co-founder of Ezra's Organics, a new company that specializes in grafted tomatoes. Ron is also a partner at Everbearing services where he works to develop and implement leading edge web marketing solutions He also is an active contributor to other start-ups and often provides due diligence consulting for technology investors. He is also a litigation consultant on patent structure and viability.
Shana Starobin is a PhD student in Environmental Science and Policy at Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment and the 2011 Kenan Graduate Instructor in Ethics. With academic and professional interests in institutional design and social innovation, her research focuses on the role of business, NGOs, and civil society in fostering alternative modes of governance and institutions for addressing complex socio-economic and ecological problems, such as the private regulation of the global food supply chain.
Prior to pursuing her PhD, Shana worked extensively in the areas of sustainable development, social entrepreneurship, and civic engagement internationally and in the U.S. She serves as a senior adviser to the Institute for Sustainable Development (ISD), a Durham-based non-profit assisting smaller enterprises in their sustainability efforts, as well as the Duke Microfinance Leadership Initiative (DMLI), of which she is also a co-founder.
Shana holds two Masters degrees from Duke in Environmental Management and Public Policy as well as an AB magna cum laude in History and Science from Harvard College.
David has played a key role in the growth and development of The Rensselaerville Institute's outcome tools and guidance since 1990. Major project engagements have included delivering the Institute' outcome related products with government, foundations and a variety of non-profit organizations in a variety of program areas. Clients include
- NYC Department of Health, Human Resources Administration, Head Start
- Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation of North Carolina
- United Kingdom Department of Health
- The Staten Island Foundation
- Brooklyn Community Services
- National Association of Developmental Disabilities Planning Councils
- First Five Riverside
- Appalachian Regional Commission
He has led training programs throughout the country and the UK and currently leads the Community Sparkplug program efforts in rural towns across Appalachia in Mississippi and Ohio. He has a diverse range of experience in presenting, training and building core capacity for staff members to increase their effectiveness.
Dave is the co-founder of Sustainable West Milford non-profit dedicated to creating a sustainable community. He has been certified as an Educator for Sustainability by the Cloud Institute for Sustainability.
Dave's educational background is in psychology and he holds a Master of Arts in Psychology from The Graduate Faculty in New York.
As a professional event planner and fundraising consultant, Wendy has been an integral part of the growth of non-profit organizations such as Habitat for Humanity and Alpine Learning Group. Ms. Worden is the President of Calypso Creative LLC, a full-service planning firm that empowers organizations to deploy their human and capital resources and ensure that their development plans are aligned with the organization's vision and mission.
A graduate of the Bergen LEADS class of 2010, Wendy is actively engaged in nurturing future leaders and creating opportunities for professionals to connect to non-profit organizations that are in need of their expertise. As a Board Member of AmpleHarvest.org, Ms. Worden has been actively involved in providing financial and human resource support to the organization and believes wholeheartedly in AmpleHarvest.org's ability to change the landscape of hunger in America.
Wendy graduated from Boston University with a BA in Business Administration and has been involved in event planning in both the corporate and non-profit sectors for the past 20 years. When returning to the workplace after a hiatus to raise her three children, Ms. Worden recognized her desire to "do good" and is focused on inspiring individuals to actively engage in changing our world for the better.
The Advisory Board
The AmpleHarvest.org Advisory Board is a select group of leaders who contribute their expertise and experience to help AmpleHarvest.org better fulfull its role.
A number of people who provide valuable guidance to AmpleHarvest.org request that they remain anonymous and we greatly appreciate their support too.
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Robert is the Founder and President of L.A. Kitchen, founded DC Central Kitchen, Founder and President of CForward, founding chair of both the Mayor's Commission on Nutrition and Street Sense, was also the Co-Convener of the first Nonprofit Congress, held in Washington DC in 2006, serves on the Board of the National Addiction Recovery Program, Back On My Feet, the Philanthropic Collaborative, and Chef Jose Andres' World Central Kitchen.
Robert was included in the Non Profit Times list of the "50 Most Powerful and Influential" nonprofit leaders from 2006-2009. He was the recipient of the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington's 2007 "Lifetime Achievement" award and the 2004 James Beard Foundation "Humanitarian of the Year" award. He has been named an Oprah Angel, a Washingtonian of the Year, a Point of Light and one of the Ten Most Caring People in America, by the Caring Institute. He is also a 15-gallon blood donor to the American Red Cross.
Jonathan is an internationally recognized expert on food waste.
His blog wastedfood.com is the go to source for information on the top. He is also the auther of American Wasteland: How America Throws Away Nearly Half of Its Food (and What We Can Do About It)., a study of food waste in America.