Backyard Produce Project
Volunteers providing fresh fruits and vegetables to local families in need.
Beginning – The Backyard Produce Project began in January 2009, when school counselors told a citizens group in the Poway area that more and more families were having trouble affording healthy food, especially fresh produce. The group’s idea was to collect unwanted fruit from some of the thousands of fruit trees in people’s yards and donate it to families in need.
Donation Sites – The project began by setting up a table in the parking lot of a community center one day a month and asking people to bring their unneeded backyard fruit. Over time, additional donation sites were added. Today there are weekly and monthly donation sites in Poway, Rancho Bernardo, and Rancho Penasquitos.
Tree Picking Teams – Homeowners often call saying they would be happy to donate their fruit if someone will come and pick it. The project recruited volunteers and formed picking teams able to meet these requests.
Organic Gardens – In spring 2010, the owner of Sunshine Care, a community of assisted living homes in Poway, offered the project a tract of undeveloped land to develop into an organic garden for the project. Volunteers developed a garden. Over time the garden quaduplied in size and an orchard was added. Sunshine Care generously provides the land, the water, and the expertise of its Director of Horticulture. A school garden also joined the project. Now Sunshine Care monitors and directs 20 schools and churches with their onsite gardens.
Recipients – All of the produce from the donations sites, the tree picking teams, and the gardens is donated to the Poway-based non-profit Friends and Family Community Connection. This charity and its partners hold food distribution events for families referred by the Poway school district, families that can show proof of low income, residents of low-income apartments, and low-income seniors. Over 350 families – well over 1000 individuals — are being helped. The produce supplements other food commodities obtained by Friends and Family Community Connection.
Volunteers – The project is run entirely by volunteers. Over 100 volunteers have stepped forward to participate.
Results – As of December 2015 – over five years since beginning – the project had donated over 156,000 pounds of produce. The numbers continue to rise. Project Funding – The project is funded by donations and fundraisers. Most of the funding is used for organic gardening supplies, and ongoing cost.
Check Donations can be made to:
The Backyard Produce Project
16965 Cloudcroft Drive
Poway, CA 92064
Credit Card Donations:
The Backyard Produce Project is a 100% volunteer driven not for profit collaboration. Our Food Bank gardens are housed at Sunshine Care Homes and Rolling Hills Elementary school. These gardens are creating wonderful opportunities for people of all ages to volunteer and connect with nature while giving back to local families in need. Funding for the Backyard Produce Project comes from local businesses and individuals like you!
Major Partners: Major partners are Palomar Health, Sunshine Care, Grangetto’s Farm and Garden Supply, Kellogg Garden Supply, Hunter Industries, Kiwanis Penesquitos Chapter, and Innovative Employee Solutions.
Further information – Further information about the project is available at the project website www.backyard-produce-project.wikispaces.com.
The Backyard Produce Project Thanks Our