AmpleHarvest.org is founded
Shortly after Gary Oppenheimer became the director of the West Milford Community Garden in late 2008, he learned that some of the garden plot holders left large amounts of their garden produce unharvested when they grew more than they could possibly use.
Aware that hunger is a problem in our community, he suggested that they create a committee that would help to gather this extra food and deliver it to local food pantries. The local program was named Ample Harvest West Milford. Food pantries however were hard to find, in large part because most operate without an Internet site or yellow page listing. Google for example listed the nearest food pantry as being in a town 25 miles away, even though our own town had several of them. And it turns out this same challenge was faced by backyard gardeners nationwide wishing to share their bounty.
The Website is launched
AmpleHarvest.org launched the website nationally to educate and encourage gardeners
To address this dilemma, Gary created AmpleHarvest.org, a new supply side
channel in our national food network that would educate, encourage and enable gardeners with extra produce to easily donate to a local food pantry. Initially conceived of in March 2009, with the help of two volunteer web designers (one of whom is a former food pantry client), the AmpleHarvest.org site rolled out nationally on May 18, 2009. AmpleHarvest.org received enthusiastic support and backing from Google.com, the USDA, numerous faith groups as well as many media outlets and food/hunger bloggers.
A Partnership is born
National Gardening Association partnered with AmpleHarvest.org
In August of 2009, the National Gardening Association partnered with AmpleHarvest.org to help inform it’s members about the campaign.
AmpleHarvest.org receives achievement award
Rosie’s Place Groceries joins the campaign
On October 16, 2009 (World Food Day), only 150 days after its initial roll out, AmpleHarvest.org announced that the 1,000th food pantry (“Rosie’s Place Groceries” in Boston, MA) had joined the campaign. In October 2009, the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions gave AmpleHarvest.org its 2009 Environmental Achievement Award.
Food Assistance Online
Becoming an online resource to support individuals with food assistance
In December 2009, at the recommendation of United Way, AmpleHarvest.org started to provide online resources to help individuals who had come to AmpleHarvest.org in need of food assistance.
Officially a Charitable Organization
AmpleHarvest.org becomes a charitable organization
In April 2010 AmpleHarvest.org became AmpleHarvest.org Inc. – a 501(c)(3) charitable organization (EIN #27-2433274).
Gary & Larry King
Gary Oppenheimer was named CNN Hero
In May 2010, AmpleHarvest.org Founder Gary Oppenheimer was named CNN Hero on the Larry King Live show for his anti-hunger work in creating and promoting AmpleHarvest.org to food pantries and gardeners nationwide.
Ampleharvest.org & the EPA
Listed by the Environmental Protection Agency
In August 2010, as part of its effort to diminish the environmental impact of food waste, AmpleHarvest.org was listed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a food rescue resource.
Greatest person of the day
HuffPost’s Greatest Person Of The Day: Gary Oppenheimer, Founder Of AmpleHarvest.org
On Nov 10, 2010, AmpleHarvest.org Founder Gary Oppenheimer was named “HuffPost’s Greatest Person Of The Day” by the Huffington Post for creating AmpleHarvest.org.
A year of awards
Winner of the Glynwood Harvest Wave of the Future Award and Russ Berrie Award
In 2011, AmpleHarvest.org was named winner of the Glynwood Harvest Wave of the Future Award, Gary was named winner of the 2011 Russ Berrie Award for Making a Difference as well a Huffington Post 2011 Game Changer.
Launched Centerpieces for Pantries Initiative
Centerpieces for Pantries encourages people to use edible arrangements of whole fruit and vegetables on their dinner tables instead of floral arrangements.
AmpleHarvest.org Recognized For Exceptional Service By Points of Light
Points of Light Tribute Awards are presented annually to shine a national spotlight on the best of those who represent what it means to be a “point of light.”
Feds Feed Families Food Drive Partners with AmpleHarvest.org
Created in 2009 and managed by the USDA, Feds Feed Families is an annual campaign collecting store bought food from federal employees to benefit food banks across the country along food gleaned from local farms. Like nearly every other food drive, it has largely received processed food in jars, cans and boxes, along with some produce from a few larger growers. Thanks to this new partnership, government employees, regardless of the size of their garden, will now also be able to donate fresh food to a local food pantry going forward.
In 2015 and 2016, AmpleHarvest.org conducted a study with more than 2,500 gardeners nationwide asking two key questions: how much more food do you grow than you can use (i.e. is there food waste) and would you be willing to donate the excess to a nearby food pantry if you had the opportunity (i.e. would you turn what might have been wasted food into a charitable donation)?
Participated in Feeding America Food Rescue Summit
This summit brought together the key thought leaders and program from across America to share ideas and solutions to help end the waste of food in America.
Presented at Global Food Innovation Summit
The Seeds & Chips Global Food Innovation Summit showcases national and international talent and cutting-edge solutions, bringing together people, ideas, and solutions from around the world to shape a better food system.
The new site includes upgrades making it much easier for gardeners and food pantries, sets food pantry expectations by informing them of what’s being harvested in their region, improves our SEO to better leverage the AdWords support Google has provided for 13 years (thank you so very much!), supports our planned expansion into Indian Country, Puerto Rico and the territories, and helps us better document our reach and impact. It also dramatically improves the donation process from our wonderful supporters.
AmpleHarvest.org In Indian Country takes our already proven model and adapts it to address the distinct circumstances found in Indian Country. This includes a unique food pantry model, lack of traditional street addresses or zip codes or limited Internet access in some communities, while also respecting National sovereignty.