Fresh produce is a difficult commodity for food pantries to supply, because it spoils quickly. Additionally, drought and demand has pushed produce prices higher over the last several years. As a result, food pantries rarely have a consistent supply of fresh fruit and produce.
Donating your extra vegetables to a food pantry in your community makes a big difference to people in need. Gardeners invariably have a few things growing that produce excessively during the season. Zucchini leaps to mind. Once you have overwhelmed friends, family, and co-workers with abundance from your garden, consider dropping off the excess to a local food pantry.
Alternately, you are welcome to drop off your excess produce at the Seed2Need gardens. We are located on Manierre Road in Corrales. You can drop off fruit or vegetable donations on Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday mornings from 8-9 am. Food pantries pick up directly from the gardens, which quickly gets your donation to those who need it.
We replaced the dead trees in the orchard around the Lynn garden and planted an orchard around the Seed2Need greenhouse on Corrales Road in 2013. Keep New Mexico Beautiful provided us with a grant to purchase the trees and an enterprising Eagle Scout candidate rounded up volunteers to plant them.
We started harvesting fruit from the new orchard in 2018. Our hope is they will generate tons of fresh fruit in the years to come. This will provide additional variety to what we currently donate.
Whereas we appreciate the many requests that we receive every year, we are frequently unable to accept every offer due to limited volunteer availability and limited equipment. Furthermore, many of our key volunteers are senior citizens, which makes ladders a perilous prospect in terms of potential injury.
We have received additional assistance from local Boy Scouts troops, Eagle Scouts and church groups since 2018. However, we need as much notice as possible, because gleaning becomes overwhelming when the apples ripen simultaneously. It is more challenging when the apples coincide with peak harvest. We will need at least two weeks notice to arrange for volunteers and equipment, particularly as the gardens hit peak harvest in August and September.
Ideally, we coordinate school, church, or community service groups for gleaning projects so we can focus on the garden harvest. If you would like to donate fruit from your trees, please contact us. Everything harvested is donated to local food pantries and soup kitchens.
For larger orchards we need additional time to arrange for Roadrunner Food Bank to pick up.