Combating food waste is a day to day battle. From the farm to your plate, a percentage of loss is inevitable – about one-fifth to be exact. What most probably don’t consider is the amount of loss that can occur in your own backyard garden. One Boise, Idaho high school teacher and his wife are doing their part to combat this issue by creating a resourceful garden community.
A study done by nonprofit organization AmpleHarvest.org revealed that 11 billion pounds of home/community garden food is wasted on an annual basis. In Treasure Valley alone, it’s estimated that “over half a million pounds of backyard produce goes unharvested every year.”
Salah Elkatanani and Elizabeth Elkatanani are determined to decrease that number by creating an outreach in their Treasure Valley community. By founding Treasure Valley Harvest, the couple hopes to raise awareness and reduce garden food waste in their local area.
“It is the mission and vision of Treasure Valley Harvest to help connect people to help one another and to minimize food waste in the Treasure Valley. It is a way to appreciate the bounty that is all around and to give to those who can benefit.”
TreasureValleyHarvest.com acts as an online resource where real gardeners can connect with willing harvesters. Through the website, gardeners who have excess produce can reach out to individuals willing to harvest. The idea for the project came after the couple happened across an apricot tree ripe for the picking, with no one to pick. Determined to deliver unused food to hungry mouths willing to harvest, the couple came up with the concept of Treasure Valley Harvest.
The garden to harvester approach is ingenious. For those that have too much food, or don’t have the means of harvesting, Treasure Valley Harvest provides the answer. In time, the couple hopes to branch out beyond their own community and begin working with food banks. With one in six Americans needing food, contributing fresh produce to food banks can not only prevent garden food loss, but feed hungry mouths.
In the meantime, the couple encourages others to hand out flyers to neighbors that have gardens that are left unharvested. It’s all about knowing your resources and sharing the bounty.