News & Success Stories

Recognized Partners across San Diego County are the driving force behind the strength, reach and impact of the Live Well San Diego vision. Read their inspiring success stories below.

Saving The Planet, One Orange at a Time

Post Date:04/17/2023 3:51 PM

Women holding baskets of orangesBy Nita Kurmins Gilson, ProduceGood Co-Executive Director of Programs and Outreach

Go for a walk in your neighborhood. Do you see any citrus trees? They are all over San Diego, most likely with fruit ripening. Do you see fruit on the ground, rotting? Doesn’t it feel really bad, really wrong, to see that kind of waste?

That is exactly why Nita Kurmins Gilson started a grassroots gleaning group, CropSwap, (now nonprofit ProduceGood) 13 years ago. 

“I thought someone should be doing something about this,” she said. “When I couldn’t find anyone, I gathered some friends and family and started gleaning excess fruit and taking it to local food banks. Nobody in San Diego was talking about food waste back then, even though it was literally in their backyards.” 

Fast forward to 2023 and ProduceGood has brought the ancient idea of gleaning (farmers leaving some of their crops for the needy to harvest) into the 21st century. ProduceGood recovers excess fresh produce from backyards, orchards, farmer’s markets, small farms and local grocers (like Jimbo’s) every day, having recovered more than 1 million pounds of surplus fruits and vegetables and provided the one in four San Diegans struggling with food insecurity with almost 4 million servings of fresh, nutritious produce since 2014. 

More than 3,000 ProduceGood volunteers glean thousands of pounds each week and deliver it to more than 70 partner feeding agencies, including LiveWell Recognized Partners Jewish Family ServiceSan Diego Food BankFeeding San DiegoInterfaith Community ServicesBayside Community CenterAlpha ProjectCommunity Resource CenterElderHelp, and many  more. 

Celebrate Earth Month (and every month) by looking around. Look at the beautiful trees that grow in our lush climate. Pick some fruit from your trees to share with neighbors. If there is too much, contact ProduceGood, which can help reduce food waste and hunger by gleaning. You can help our planet and people in one tiny step, one orange at a time.

Become a climate warrior! You can help ProduceGood by donating your time and fruit. Learn how, visit:

Caption: Co-Executive Directors Nita Kurmins Gilson, left, and Alexandra White. 

Photo credit: Francine Kiefer, The Christian Science Monitor 

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