Occasionally, you learn about a nonprofit that is doing something so simple, obvious, and necessary that it causes a smallish explosion in your brain. And then you ask yourself, “is everyone in the world smarter than me and thinking up brilliant solutions to the world’s most complex issues while I am just sitting here watching comedies on Brit Box?” And the answer is “yes.” Genius is everywhere, except in this house where we can’t seem to figure out how to fix a Dyson so we sit here in squalor praying it will fix itself.

Meet the relatively new and simply brilliant Fresh Food Connect. The issue they sought to solve is a common quandary most vegetable gardeners face each year in late August, or early September. Too much produce and not enough squash-eaters. 

Each year, roughly one in ten people in the U.S. experiences food insecurity, yet 40% of our food goes to waste. Meanwhile, one in three American households grows vegetables and/or fruit at home or in community gardens. Fresh Food Connect created a mobile app to assist thousands of home gardeners to share their homegrown produce donations to support local hunger relief agencies.  

Community-based food access organizations license the Fresh Food Connect technology platform, to coordinate incoming donations of homegrown produce. Not only can they access locally grown fruits and veggies, but the organization can also expand their reach into the local gardening community and a network of similar organizations across the country. 

Meanwhile, gardeners download the free Fresh Food Connect app, which links them to the closest Fresh Food Connect nonprofit partner. Now, the gardeners can easily schedule produce donations directly through the app and track their donations throughout the growing season. 

Imagine how many rotten tomatoes could have been turned into delicious salads or canned as pasta sauce had you only known about Fresh Food Connect. How many shriveled eggplants could have been baba ganoush? How much of that dried up dying parsley could’ve been tabbouleh? Don’t hate yourself. You didn’t know. Just do better this year and download the app.

It’s not just the concept that makes me swoon, but also the leadership. Many will remember Kayla Birdsong from her days as CEO of another fantastic organization, The Growhaus. Kayla joined Fresh Food Connect in the summer of 2021 as CEO with a keen eye toward scaling the organization. A true local community leader, Kayla has dedicated her career to innovative solutions to improving food access and security in the nonprofit sector.

During her tenure at The GrowHaus, she collaboratively built up a food system in a food desert in northeast Denver including elements of farming and production, food aggregation, distribution, retail, education and community outreach.

Fresh Food Connect is making moves. Since the organization’s inception they have redistributed over 67,000 pounds of produce, activated 24 states, and moved from a single lonely zip code to 1,800 and counting.

If you wish to join this movement of gardeners, you should download the app through the Apple Store or Google Play and start planning. Those tomatoes aren’t going to plant themselves, just as my family’s Dyson isn’t any closer to fixing itself. 

The organization has surveyed their partner organizations to identify which foods are in highest demand from their constituents. The most requested produce includes tomatoes, onions, peppers, lettuce, carrots, garlic, fruit, herbs, greens, citrus, cabbage, cucumbers, tomatillos, melons, and beans. They suggest that if you donate squash, make sure it’s smaller than your forearm. Also, if the produce doesn’t look like it’s something you would eat, then kindly don’t donate it.

This summer will be your garden’s best year yet with this handy app. And don’t worry, if you don’t have a green thumb, but still wish to show your support of this exceptional organization, you may donate through their website at