Lifestyle

Helpline seeks home garden surplus

Susan Saiki restocks some of the produce the South Kitsap Helpline food bank supplies for those in need. The S.A.Y.S. program will help add more fresh fruit and vegetables to the shelves by residents donating excess produce from their backyard gardens.  - Carole Bacon/Staff Photo
Susan Saiki restocks some of the produce the South Kitsap Helpline food bank supplies for those in need. The S.A.Y.S. program will help add more fresh fruit and vegetables to the shelves by residents donating excess produce from their backyard gardens.
— image credit: Carole Bacon/Staff Photo

The saying, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” couldn’t be more accurate at describing a new program in South Kitsap to benefit the Helpline food bank.

Share All Your Surplus (S.A.Y.S.) doesn’t require monetary donations and won’t require a huge time commitment.

What it will do however, is put to use all of the surplus fruits and vegetables from backyard gardens that are not harvested and left to rot.

Taking a cue from the Solid Ground’s Community Fruit Harvest project, the idea to harvest urban fruit connected with South Kitsap Helpline’s mission to feed the hungry.

According to Solid Ground’s handbook for harvesting urban fruit, people are organizing projects in which excess fruit from backyard trees is harvested and shared with others.

Solid Ground’s harvest began as a neighborhood project harvesting 500 pounds of fruit in 2005. By 2008, it had expanded to a citywide hub-and-spoke model, with neighborhood harvesting ‘hubs’ that picked 15,000 pounds of fruit.

These neighborhoods and communities are now stepping forward to organize their own local fruit harvests.

Many people Helpline supports can’t afford to buy fresh produce and are left with canned fruits (which are high in sugar) and vegetables, while some people with backyard gardens have more than they can use.

This has created an opportunity for sharing instead of wasting.

The program is targeted towards rescuing potentially wasted fruits and vegetables to feed those in need.

Points to consider when you donate produce are:

• Try and keep stems attached as it will last longer in storage.

• If some of the produce is ready, and some is unripe, segregate it into separate boxes and label these.

• Don’t take fruit that has touched the ground. There is a risk of E. coli, and bruised fruit spoils faster.

• Don’t take wormy or unattractive produce.

A general rule is that if you wouldn’t want to eat it yourself, don’t take it.

Food donated by individuals are exempt from liability by the federal Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act of 1996 (www.usda.gov/news/pubs/gleaning/appc.htm) unless there is gross negligence or intentional misconduct by the owner.

For more information on donating your surplus of fresh produce, contact Doris Worlund at (253) 970-2047 or the South Kitsap Helpline at (360) 876-4089.

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