Pay it Forward: Backyard GardenShare program helps get rid of extra food in your garden

Pay it Forward: Backyard GardenShare program helps get rid of extra food in your garden (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) — It's that time of year when people are harvesting all the fruits and vegetables from their gardens.

And many of them have extra produce that they don't know what to do with.

"We have a large garden. We always have more than we can use," said Lisa Pace, a gardener.

All the excess food in her garden used to go to waste.

"It was so sad to see things rotting, especially when you'd worked so hard on your garden," she said.

Now, Pace donates it to the Backyard GardenShare program.

"A simple way people can get involved and feel like they're making a difference in their community," she described.

The program feeds people who may not be able to afford or grow fresh food.

Pat Thomas developed the program as an answer to Utah's hunger problem.

"I see hunger as a thief," Thomas said. "We have 392,000 Utahns who are at risk of missing a meal every day."

The program is simple. You just grab extra food from your garden, and drop it at a designated collection point near your neighborhood.

"Within 24 hours, we have that produce in one of our organizations that distributes it immediately to a population that would need it," Thomas explained.

The food goes to places like school food pantries, Boys and Girls Clubs, refugee communities, and more.

"Really the emotion on people's faces is worth all of the sleepless nights," Thomas said.

The program has been growing since it started a few years ago.

"People have just cropped up everywhere and said, 'I want to be a part of this,'" said Thomas.

So Thomas needs more volunteers to donate and collect food, as well as money, to keep it running.

"It really builds community," she said.

Mountain America Credit Union donated $500 to the Backyard GardenShare program.

If you would like to get involved and for more information, visit the program's website.