Have too many tomatoes and zucchini? Several Utah organizations accept and distribute surplus products to those in need.
Many Utah gardeners have already started to enjoy the apricots, tomatoes, zucchini, and peppers they have grown in their backyard.
But what will they do in a few weeks, when the harvest fills the kitchen countertop and exceeds what they can put in their fridge – or their stomach?
Instead of throwing away those extra fruits and vegetables, consider giving them away to those who need them. In Utah, 355,550 residents are currently facing hunger, according to national statistics from Feed America.
While many organizations in the Salt Lake Valley accept non-perishable foods, only some have the capacity to store produce from the garden.
Here are five Utah organizations that can accept and distribute your crop surplus.
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the GardenShare Program, operated by Waste Less Solutions, allows neighborhood gardeners to donate their excess produce to schools, boys ‘and girls’ clubs, emergency pantries and refugee centers. Go to Wastelesssolutions.org/gardenshare to find the nearest donation site.
Organizers recommend harvesting produce when it has three to five days of life left so it can be enjoyed at its peak.
Can’t you eat all the fruit from this garden tree?
Subscribe to FruitShare Program, executed by The Urban Green Lunchbox. Volunteers will collect fresh fruit from registered trees and distribute them to senior centers, health facilities and hunger relief organizations.
For a small fee, volunteers will prune, fertilize and perform other tree maintenance.
Catholic community services provides social services along the Wasatch front and in northern Utah. Its food bank and dining hall help hungry members of the community.
The Salt Lake location at 437 W. 200 South accepts product donations Monday through Friday, 8 am to 4 pm. For more information, visit the website at ccsutah.org
The generous pantry works to alleviate hunger in Davis County. Eligible customers can visit the pantry twice a month to receive the equivalent of a week of groceries. Individual food donations represent 30% of pantry goods.
It is located at 480 E. 150 North, and welcomes donations of fresh fruit and vegetables Monday through Saturday, 8 am to noon; and Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. More details on bountifulfoodpantry.org/
The Feed U Pantry opened in October 2014 after a University of Utah community survey found that 51% of those surveyed were food insecure. Today, he helps feed students, faculty, staff and their families.
Located in the basement of the Olpin Student Union Building, 200 S Central Campus Dr., it is generally open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. website before leaving because the schedules sometimes vary according to the school calendar. The schedules are updated weekly.
Here are ways to avoid food waste when your products are past their prime.
Compost it • Salt Lake City residents can participate in a composting program asking for a brown trash can for their house. Weeds, grass clippings, leaves, tree branches, tea bags, coffee grounds, fruits and vegetables, and eggshells can go in the trash. (Food should not be contaminated with meat or dairy products.)
The waste is processed at facilities in Salt Lake City which transform it into wood chips, mulch and compost, which are then available for purchase at the Salt Lake Valley landfill, 6030 W. California Ave. (1300 South).
Want to start your own compost heap? here is a guide of the Wasatch Community Gardens.
Transform it • Wasatch Resource Recovery accepts small volumes of residential food waste – less than 15 gallons per trip. The company’s giant digester will turn it into renewable natural gas and nutrient-rich soil.
Acceptable items include fruits and vegetables as well as meat, dairy products and bread. Leftover food can be dropped off – free of charge – right inside the property’s doors at 1370 W. Center St., North Salt Lake.
Bottle it or freeze it • Mature products are good candidates for canning and freezing. Utah State University Extension in Salt Lake County offers a free online course August 3 to learn the basics. The USU also has a Preserving the Harvest Lecture Series for $ 5 per class.