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Natural Awakenings Chicago

A Simple Holiday Centerpiece Helps Feed the Hungry

Oct 28, 2017 04:32PM

Photo: AmpleHarvest.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AmpleHarvest.org, a nationwide nonprofit that enables millions of home gardeners to donate excess garden produce to a nearby food pantry, promotes using whole fruit and vegetables as holiday centerpieces. Instead of flowers, fruit and vegetables are not only colorful, textured and appealing, they are edible.

         The AmpleHarvest Centerpieces for Food Pantries initiative, now in its sixth year, helps people share the food they’re thankful for with those not so lucky. More than 8,000 food pantries spread across the country have registered with AmpleHarvest.org, with more joining daily, eager to accept fresh produce.

         There’s also a centerpiece photo contest on Instagram continuing through December 30 with a $50 gift certificate to Gardener’s Supply company for the top three finalists. Each photograph should include a short description of the produce used in the centerpiece and where it will be donated. Each entry must tag
@AmpleHarvest and use the hashtag #AmpleCenterpiece.

         “Pretty as they are, flowers quickly wilt and need to be thrown away within days. Instead, a bowl or basket of whole fruit and/or vegetables can be used as a beautiful centerpiece for that special dinner­—and then be donated to a local food pantry the following day,” says Gary Oppenheimer, founder of AmpleHarvest.org.

         Unique dinner table centerpieces can be harvested from the garden or purchased from a farmers’ market or store. The fresh food adds color, character and fragrance to the table. Budget-friendly DIY ideas are available at AmpleHarvest.org/one-simple-change.

         “There’s no right or wrong way to make an edible centerpiece. Use what you have or what’s in season. I chose fruits and veggies that are hearty and can hold up well out of the fridge or water. Fall and winter vegetables are perfect for an edible centerpiece because they are tough and will not wilt easily,” states Debbie Wolfe, of the Prudent Garden. “This is a wonderful way to give back to your community, as well as spread a little holiday cheer to those who could use a little help.”

         It’s important to remember that food pantries can only accept whole food. If the fruit or vegetables are cut, carved or pierced with toothpicks, they will not be accepted by most food pantries.

For more information, call 267-536-9880 or visit AmpleHarvest.org/holiday.