Donating Extra Produce

Why Donate?
It is common to have extra produce at the end of CSA distribution.  Donating this extra produce is a great way to reduce waste and give back to your community.  Your CSA may even decide to donate more than just leftovers.  It requires a little bit of planning to get started, but once your CSA has established a system it should be easy and rewarding to sustain.  Keep good records of your donations, along with your share list, and it will help you when applying for funding and advertising your good works.

Examples of Organizations to Give Your Donation

  • Food Pantries
  • Soup Kitchens
  • Church/Synagogue
  • Homeless Shelters
  • Elder Care Facilities
  • Day Care Programs
  • After-School Programs

Finding an Organization
The best place to donate to is a place with which someone in your CSA has a strong connection.  Ask your fellow CSA members if there is a place that they are affiliated with that would appreciate the donation.  If you don’t have this connection and would like to help an organization, contact Just Food and we can help you find one through our connections with City Harvest and United Way.  Community Boards may also be a good resource because they will know of the different organizations in your neighborhood that would appreciate the donation.

Arranging Transportation
Transportation is an important aspect of donating.  The best arrangement is to have the donation picked up by the recipient organization each week.  Coming to the CSA weekly will help the recipient learn more about CSA and feel more included in the whole process.  You may also choose to drop off the donation each week.  It is a good idea to include your newsletter or other CSA information with your donation to better integrate the site with your CSA.

Solidifying Communication
Whether they are picking up or you are dropping off, it is best to maintain good communication between the CSA and the donation recipient organization to allow for a smooth donation process.  These duties can be given to the CSA volunteer who cleans up at the end of distribution or to the same person each week.  Be sure to have exchanged appropriate contact information beforehand.  It is often beneficial to have backup contact information, as well.

Tracking Your Donation
Keep track of your donation on your share list or by some other means.  This will help you in your relationship with your donation site, it will help your CSA members be aware of what happens to the produce they don’t pick up, and it will provide a great help when applying for future funding or finding a new donation site.

Identifying Donation Uses
If the donation recipient expresses difficulty using the donated produce, Just Food can provide assistance.  Problems may include, but are not limited to, that the types and/or quantities of food vary each week, that they don’t have the appropriate facilities to utilize the produce,  or that they are unfamiliar with many of the vegetables.  It may be needed to work with the organization to find a creative way to incorporate the produce, and if needed, Just Food can help you figure out such a solution based on our experience in other institutional settings.

Back to CSA in NYC Tipsheets