Today at TruKid we all walked in and found home-grown plums on our desks from one of our research and developers, Jane. That was quite the surprise. A very sweet and delicious surprise. She told us her parents had grown the plums at their home and had given her a bunch to take home and to work. She went on to say that her parents had enough to make plum jam, plum reserves, and pretty much fill a kiddie pool full of plums, should they choose to go plum swimming. The bottom line: Not many people can honestly use all of the produce that their gardens/trees grow. You can give produce to friends and family and still have a bunch left. So why not donate it to your local food bank? Jane's parents went directly to their local food bank to donate the rest of their fresh fruit. This is where you come in! Got a garden? Consider these facts from our local food bank, the Alameda County Food Bank: At their bank alone, they received 15 million lbs of food. Of that amount, 9.3 million lbs were non-perishable items. That means that more than half of the food at the food bank at any given time was not fresh fruit or vegetables. Our county is lucky to have a conscientious group working for them. The man I spoke to said "We could have as much soda as we want! But it's not healthy so we cut it out." We agree! Soda is a treat for some people, but it is definitely not nutritious. We should start offering food banks things that we would want our families to eat. Not to mention this reduces our carbon footprint! Food that is not packaged reduces waste from plastic, paper, and if it's from your own garden, (we're hoping) less pesticides! With the economy not doing so hot, more families are having to turn to food banks for help. The Alameda County Food Bank reported that their hot-line for food help has gone up 23% just in 2007. That's a giant leap for one year! If you happen to have a garden we encourage you to pick and bring all of your extras to the local food bank. You can find a food bank near you at www.secondharvest.org If you don't have a garden, but have some extra land and time (initially), why not start a garden? Something tells me the benefits you reap will be a lot greater than the effort it took you to sow. If you happen to decide to do this or have done this before, please comment. We want to hear from you! Some things to keep in mind: 1. Donate your fresh foods before they are ripe or about to spoil. Distribution of donated items usually takes 3-4 days. 2. If you work in an office building spread the word through a company approved email or flier that you are looking for people with gardens/trees and extra produce! 3. Notice fruit trees in your neighborhood?? Why not ask your neighbors to get involved or volunteer to pick their extra fruit and bring it to your local food bank! 4. The clean up in your yard will be soooo much less than if you were to let your fruit spoil and fall to the ground. 5. Picking fruit can be a great bonding time for friends and family. Get everyone involved! *Thank you to the Alameda Food Bank for the wealth of information they gave us and for their on-going contributions to our community!