Food Donations

Posted on by

I’ve got too much produce!

If your garden or fruit tree is providing more than you can eat, consider the following actions:

  1. Preserve, dehydrate, or make stock with your produce. Don’t know how? Consider taking a workshop or hosting a preserving party!
  2. Share it with friends, family, neighbors.
  3. Share or barter it with your networks: Homegrown Guild, CropMobster, Nextdoor, Freecycle, Fallen Fruit, etc.
  4. Deliver it to a community donation drop site, pantry, food bank, or a Cropmobster food provider (see video below for more information on the CropMobster project).
  5. Attend or host a produce exchange.
  6. Put it out in a free box.
  7. Remember your neighborhood chickens, rabbits, goats, etc. would love your greens.
  8. Devise a neighborly composting scheme.
  9. Put spoiled produce in your Petaluma Green Bin.

Places to Drop off Extra Food in Petaluma:

Petaluma Bounty Hunters can help get your surplus fresh food to Petaluma residents who can’t afford fresh, healthy food. Just drop off your surplus bounty at one of our Bounty Hunters Collection Sites, and we’ll make sure it gets to local households in need. See below or click here for the flyer!

Need help harvesting your garden, orchard, or farm?

If you are local to Petaluma and have a loaded tree,  orchard, garden, or farm with extra fruit or veggies (say 75 pounds or more) that you’d like to donate, Petaluma Bounty Hunters may be able to send out volunteers to help bring in the harvest. Fill out this Bounty Hunter Produce Donation Form or email us at [email protected].  

If you have extra produce and you’re outside Petaluma, please read below:

Petaluma Bounty takes a place-based approach to coordinating food recovery efforts. We want to complement existing partners’ efforts and minimize unnecessary miles from donor to service provider. Thus, we offer the incomplete list of resources below for your to consider if you’re outside of Petaluma. Remember, it’s always best if you can drop produce off directly to a place that accepts donations. If you have more than 500 pounds of produce to donate, it is best to contact the Redwood Empire Food Bank.

If you have prepared food, please connect with Sonoma Food Runners.

Santa Rosa Area

Redwood Empire Food Bank -will not pick up less than 500 pounds of produce but you can drop off donations of any amount.

Food Runners– specializes in prepared food but willing to pick up pre-picked produce.

Windsor/Sebastopol Area

Sonoma County Gleaners

Healdsburg

Farm to Pantry

Sonoma Valley

Sonoma Valley Gleaning Project

Marin County

Extra Food

Sonoma County Food Recovery Coalition:

Petaluma Bounty is a founding member of the Sonoma County Food Recovery Coalition. To learn more about the coalition and current projects, please click here.

Petaluma Bounty worked alongside Sonoma County Food Recovery Coalition, CropMobster, and UC Cooperative Extension to map the agencies that accept produce throughout Sonoma County. They can be found by going to the CropMobster Directory.

Liability Considerations:

As a potential donor, people often ask us if they are exposing themselves to liability. There are two considerations that we have addressed: one is liability for donating food and the other is having volunteers on your property.

For the first consideration, Petaluma Bounty advocated for the strengthening of the California Good Samaritan Law (AB 1219) which protects the donor from liability if a recipient gets sick from donated food, unless gross negligence or criminal intent is involved.

Please see below for additional information provided by the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation at Harvard Law School.

“Food insecurity affects 1 in 8 Californians and 1 in 4 children, while food waste is the largest component of waste sent to landfills in the state. AB 1219 addresses these issues jointly by improving liability protections for food donors across the state. As Assembly Member Stockton commented, “Reducing food insecurity is an achievable goal. My bill will cut down the amount of food ending up in landfills by encouraging donors to help hungry Californians.” We applaud California for this exciting achievement!

Specifically, AB 1219 expands liability protections to cover donations of food given directly from food donors to end recipients, as long as the donor makes a good faith evaluation that the food is safe to eat. It also explicitly provides protections for past-date foods that are fit for human consumption. Finally, it requires health inspectors to promote food recovery and educate local businesses and organizations about existing liability protections for food donations. See our earlier blog post for more information. These provisions will go a long way toward reducing confusion and promoting food donations in California.” (CHLPI website, September 20, 2019).

Regarding the consideration of a volunteer coming onto your property and getting injured, Petaluma Bounty requires all volunteers to sign waivers that release property owners from any claims. See the Volunteer Page for more information.

If you have garden space to share:

Not everyone in our community has access to fresh produce or a yard to grow their own. If you have more space than you can cultivate, consider taking the following actions:

  1. Grow a Row for Hunger Relief, then deliver your produce to a local community donation drop site.
  2. Plant a winter garden. Winter is when pantries are most in need of fresh produce.
  3. Do a garden share with someone who has no garden.

Want to be a Petaluma Bounty Hunter?

We’re looking for volunteers (to help harvest fresh fruit and vegetables from local orchards and farms) and drivers (to help drive donated food to local distribution sites). Read up on the program, roles and needs here. And when you’re ready to volunteer, simply fill out our online Volunteer Form or email [email protected].