CINCINNATI — They’re not your mother’s gardens. When Megan Fronduti tends to her plants, there’s no soil, they water themselves and all she needs to do is snip off what she needs for dinner.

What You Need To Know

  • Fresh Food Connect is an app that connects gardeners with places to donate their produce

  • La Soupe partnered with the app in June

  • Gardeners can donate excess fruits, vegetables and herbs for partner organizations to cook into meals for families in need

  • La Soupe hopes to get 100 gardeners on the app in the Cincinnati area

Fronduti has what’s called a tower garden, an indoor-outdoor growing system based on hydroponics. As unique as her gardens may be though, Fronduti shares a fundamental trait with anyone who grows, a desire to share her harvest.

From now on, Fronduti plans to set aside her leftover fruits and vegetables for La Soupe as a part of a new program the organization set up with Denver-based Fresh Food Connect.

Fronduti harvests greens from her tower garden

The group recently set up an app in the Cincinnati area that allows backyard gardeners to connect with La Soupe and report what kinds of leftover produce they have to offer. From there, they can get it picked up or choose to drop it off at La Soupe’s kitchen so they can cook it into meals for families in need.

“This popped up on their Facebook feed and I signed up immediately,” Fronduti said.

She’s one of the first, but La Soupe hopes around 100 gardeners join the app, ensuring those contributions add up and the kitchen can get fresh healthy ingredients throughout the year.

Most of what the kitchen cooks is gleaned or rescued from farms and grocery stores. In many cases, it’s food that needs to be cooked or frozen soon after it arrives to prevent waste. As a volunteer driver picking up many of these orders, Fronduti said she’s excited to offer fruits, vegetables and herbs from her own garden at the same time.

“My plan was to match it up to when I’m gonna do a food rescue run and drop off my donation,” she said.

Fronduti said the timing worked well for her family. She has a passion for gardening and loves fresh vegetables, but with her tower gardens producing plenty of greens year-round, it was getting to be a bit much.

“This was actually the right size for us for a while but I have two kids and one is already in college and one just graduated so the people in our house who are gonna be eating off these gardens is smaller now,” she said. 

Now she knows, no matter how much she grows, she just needs to spend a few minutes on her phone and a short drive and it’ll go to good use.

“You’re able to make a difference in your everyday life really easily because of the work they’ve put in,” she said.

Fresh Food Connect started its partnership with La Soupe in June and is expanding the app throughout the country. The company is looking at other potential partnerships in Ohio, but so far there are only two, La Soupe in Cincinnati and Bethany Church in Liberty Township.