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Our History

  1. 2009 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.

    photo of Gary Oppenheimer in a garden
  2. March

    The Website is launched launched the website nationally to educate and encourage gardeners

    To address this dilemma, Gary created, 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 site rolled out nationally on May 18, 2009. received enthusiastic support and backing from, the USDA, numerous faith groups as well as many media outlets and food/hunger bloggers.

  3. Aug
  4. Oct
    2009 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, 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 its 2009 Environmental Achievement Award.

  5. Dec
  6. Apr

    Officially a Charitable Organization becomes a charitable organization

    In April 2010 became Inc. – a 501(c)(3) charitable organization (EIN #27-2433274).

  7. May

    Gary & Larry King Gary Oppenheimer was named CNN Hero

    In May 2010, Founder Gary Oppenheimer was named CNN Hero on the Larry King Live show for his anti-hunger work in creating and promoting to food pantries and gardeners nationwide.

  8. Aug
  9. Nov
  10. 2011

    A year of awards Winner of the Glynwood Harvest Wave of the Future Award and Russ Berrie Award

    In 2011, 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.

  11. Nov

    New Program 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.

    Centerpieces for Pantries
  12. Oct
    points of light award winners 2016

    Award 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.”

  13. Jul
  14. Sep

    New Program Launched Food Waste Weekend

    A nationwide opportunity for the faith community (all faiths) to learn about and address the waste of food in America. The program has since been renamed Faith Fights Food Waste.

    Visit Faith Fights Food Waste
  15. Sep

    Released Study of Garden Food Waste

    In 2015 and 2016, 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)?

    View garden food waste study results
  16. 2018

    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.

  17. 2019

    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.

    Read more
  18. 2021

    Total overhaul of website and technology

    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.

    Read more
  19. 2022

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