The Community Roots Local Food Share, a program of the Kootenai Environmental Alliance, is entering its sixth year distributing surplus produce from backyard gardeners and farmers to numerous local food assistance facilities. With thousands of people seeking aid each month, the Coeur d’Alene Food Bank struggles to meet the increasing demands for food assistance. In 2011, Kootenai County was the one metropolitan area in the state that posted double digit unemployment rates for 19 straight months. Circumstances like this usually affect a households ability to purchase fresh produce, resulting in 20% of our local population experiencing food insecurity. Furthermore, the food banks stock mostly processed, non-perishable foods. Many adults and children in low income households have never experienced the flavor of a freshly picked tomato or a “just off the vine” cucumber. Since most gardeners find that they have grown more produce than their family can consume at peak points in the season, the Roots Local Food Share offers a simple solution to meet these nutritional needs and improve the cohesion of our community.

Starting this Wednesday, July 11th, backyard gardeners can drop off their excess produce to Shared Harvest Community Garden (located at the corner of 10th and Foster Ave) between 5:30-7:30 PM. The donated produce will be transported to 18 local food assistance facilities via our new fleet of environmentally friendly bicycle deliveries. This new fleet of bicycles and cargo trailers was donated to Community Roots by Sorenson Elementary earlier this year via Terra Sports. Since its inception in 2007, Roots volunteers have distributed over 29,000 pounds of donated fresh produce.

This drop off location at Shared Harvest will be active every Wednesday 5:30 – 7:30pm through the rest of the growing season. For those that cannot make the Wednesday drop off, our friends at Davis Donuts on 4th Street will also take and refrigerate donated produce throughout the week during business hours. We will have a new drop off location at North Idaho College coming later in the season.

Roots volunteers are the lifeblood of this program and can be seen biking to the farmer’s markets for fresh donations from local farmers, sorting food donations, harvesting vegetables and helping out in the dedicated Roots plot at the Shared Harvest Community Garden.

In 2011, the Roots Local Food Share helped crown Second Harvest with the #1 Plant A Row for the Hungry program in the entire country! Our final tallies for our region came to a staggering 286,067 pounds of donated produce! Help us reach even higher numbers for 2012!

If you’d like to donate food or like more information on how to become involved contact us at (208) 667-9093 or

5:30-7:30PM – donations accepted from the public, garden activities
7:25-8:00PM – Bikes and trailers return from downtown market with produce inside trailers
7:45 – produce sorted for facilities, garden activities