Illinois Extension feed the community homegrown fruits, vegetables

URBANA — When home gardens are bursting with an overabundance of fresh produce, growers start looking for ways to share their bounty. Backyard gardeners can help feed their community by donating fruits and vegetables to local food pantries.

Growers planning on donating to food distribution centers can take steps, even before they plant, to ensure they are providing safe, useable produce.

“Donating garden crops starts with connecting with a local food pantry,” says Staci Coussens, University of Illinois Extension SNAP-Ed educator. “Donors can find a list of pantries that will accept produce at”


The pantry’s listing will show what produce is accepted and pantry distribution times. Contact information for the pantry manager is provided so donors can find out what the preferred drop-off time is.

The pantry manager can also advise on what produce is best to donate and what their pantry users like, Coussens says. Preference varies across the state, but the most popular fresh produce items in pantries are greens, peppers, and tomatoes.

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