Gardening season is upon us here, in Mesa County. For many of us, that means not only growing pretty flowers, but food and produce as well. If you or your family has grown extra produce that you won’t be able to eat, consider donating it to a local food bank.

Food banks in the county donate hundreds of thousands of meals to hungry individuals each year. If you are considering lending a helping hand and giving extra produce to those in need, call a local food bank and ask if they accept or need produce you have before delivering it.

Here are some local food banks to get you started:

  • Community Food Bank: (970) 640-0336.
  • Western Slope Food Bank of the Rockies: 970-242-7970.
  • Rescue Mission Food Pantry: (970) 424-7513.
  • To see a full list, click here.

Quick tips:

  • Harvest in the early morning.
  • Never harvest when you are sick and always wash your hands before doing so.
  • Offer high-quality produce and toss any damaged or rotting produce.
  • If you use pesticides, be sure to read the label and follow instructions to keep the food safe.

Give back to the community worry-free. Donations are protected by the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act; this means that you are protected from criminal and civil liability when donating to a nonprofit for those in need. If you donate produce in good faith you are unlikely to be held liable.

Remember, if you want to donate this year call and ask food banks for specific instructions or standards.