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Home gardening is a great way to provide your household with fresh produce and healthy,
safe food options. As we know, not everyone has this opportunity, and food security—especially
with regard to fresh produce—is a very real issue here in Arkansas. For those who may have extra fresh produce from their gardens, donating that produce
to a local food pantry, or other food-centric organization, is a great way to help
those who may not otherwise have access to fresh produce.
Quick Steps for Selecting Produce to Donate
Food pantries are generally happy to take food donations, especially of fresh produce.
However, it is usually a good idea to call ahead of time to make sure they are able
to properly store and distribute fresh produce in a way that keeps the food fresh.
If you are donating large quantities of produce, you may want to talk with a pantry
manager about making weekly deliveries.
Just like you would for food purchased for your family, take steps to ensure that
food remains safe from harvest to donation.
Donating only whole, un-cut produce is recommended for several reasons:
Yes! The Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act protects gardeners who donate
food to nonprofit organizations for distribution to the general public. You are protected
from criminal and civil liability by this federal Act. Under the Act, donors who have
donated in good faith are protected should the donated food later cause harm to the
recipient. More information can be found here.
Dr. Bryan Mader, Assistant Professor & Nutrition Specialist, University of Arkansas
System, Division of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service. email@example.com