Zero Hunger-Zero Waste Hero: Backyard Garden Share

Can hunger be eradicated in Utah, just with the extras from backyard gardens?

Utahn Patricia Thomas thinks so!

"Feeding America estimates if we rescue just a third of the produce we already have in our gardens, we could completely feed everyone who's hungry with the fruit and vegetable component that we need every day," she said.

That's the mission of her non-profit Backyard Garden Share, where she works with her sister and Head Volunteer, Nancy Peterson, to help get people's extra produce to those in need.

We got to visit Nancy's garden, and hear more about how they connect what would be food waste, with people needing fresh produce in the community.

"Nationally, we waste about 11.4 billion pounds of just backyard produce," Pat said.

The non-profit started about four years ago, when Pat was on a usual jog through the neighborhood.

She said, "I've also been a lifelong runner, so as I've run through neighborhoods over 40 years, seeing produce grow out of their boxes, into the trees and sidewalks and gutters, I thought, 'why do we have so much produce here and we have so many people who are hungry? Why can't we connect these two?'"

Backyard Garden Share is a food-rescue operation that empowers gardeners to put extra food in local collection bins, and encourages volunteers to take those bins to local distribution sites. BGS currently has more than 100 distribution sites, including refugee centers and the Boys and Girls Club.

"I just love that the community is rising together, to solve our own problem with our own resources," Pat said.

That's why Fox13 is teaming up with Smith's Food and Drug to present Backyard Garden Share with this month's Zero Hunger, Zero Waste Hero award.

"Pat, we're so excited to be here with Backyard Garden Share because we've heard of your great efforts in the community, and you said earlier you're just a small grassroots organization but you've had such a rippling effect and most people want to help, they just don't know how, and you've made this resource possible in getting food on families' tables," said Aubriana Martindale from Smith's. "So we want to honor you with our July award in partnership with Smith's and Fox13."

Find (or start!) your neighborhood collection bin by visiting www.backyardgardenshare.org.

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