Farm-to-Food Bank Month a Time for Sharing and Caring

Taylor Hillman Cattle, Fruits & Vegetables, Vegetables

Turkey donations at the Sacramento Food Bank. (Photo courtesy of CDFA)

Turkey donations at the Sacramento Food Bank.
(Photo courtesy of CDFA)

More than four million people in California are food insecure and need a little help. It just doesn’t seem right to have that many people lacking nourishment in a state that produces such a bounty of healthy food.

In recognition of that need, five years ago, the State Board of Food and Agriculture launched an annual program with the California Association of Food Banks (CAFB) to focus on agriculture’s commitment to alleviate hunger. It’s called Farm-to-Food Bank Month, and it happens each December.

Farm-to-Food Bank Month is a reminder of the important contributions from farmers and ranchers to families in need. Unfortunately, the need isn’t limited to the holiday season. Still, California agriculture has made great strides in addressing food insecurity through the work of organizations like the CAFB, Ag Against Hunger, California Young Farmers and Ranchers, Hidden Harvest, and CA Grown, in addition to the individual efforts of farmers and ranchers who donate directly to organizations in their local communities.

Over the last five years, we have had tremendous support from producers of rice, citrus, fresh fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, and eggs, to name just a few commodities. In fact, more than 120 family farms have worked with the CAFB through the years to provide more than 140 million pounds of food annually to food banks. The State Board has set a goal to increase that amount to 200 million pounds.

Over the next several weeks, we will be highlighting the deep rooted connection that farmers and ranchers have to their communities in addressing the issue of hunger. We will also be supporting an annual donation event, coordinated with the CAFB, on December 16th at the Community Food Bank in Fresno.

Making a donation is quick and easy – to donate or make a future pledge, please contact Steve Linkhart at the CAFB at 510-350-9916 or

By Karen Ross, Secretary, California Department of Food and Agriculture