A new project is helping to connect farmers with food banks. The FarmLink Project works with the agricultural community to get produce to distribution centers around the country. Food insecurity has been an issue for some time now, but the ongoing pandemic has exacerbated the problem further. The FarmLink Project team developed a platform to address the increased strain on food banks while assisting farmers struggling with declines in demand for certain commodities.
“We started the Farmlink Project just back in mid-April when you were seeing those images of mile-long lines at food banks. At the same time, entire produce fields were having to go to waste because of closures of schools, hotels, and restaurants,” said Farmlink Project CEO James Kanoff. “We started by just literally connecting those farms that had the excess and bringing it to food banks in need.”
The non-profit project originated in California and is now operating in 45 states. The team is comprised of more than 100 students from colleges and universities across the country. Valent USA has played an integral role in getting the project up and running as one of the corporate partners.
“Valent has been extremely helpful. Not only did their employees put together a grassroots campaign to help get over $30,000, or over 300,000 meals for this region, but they’re also providing strategic guidance support,” Kanoff noted. “[Valent is] helping us really think through the problem and make sure we can really support the people that we set out to, farmers and food banks.”
It is simple for farmers to get connected with the project and begin working through the process. FarmLink Project members are always ready to help farmers who are looking for an outlet for their produce. “It doesn’t matter if it needs to be moved in an hour, a day, or if it’s two weeks from now…That’s what we’re built for, whether it’s a phone call, text, an email. We try to make it as easy for people to do the right thing,” said Kanoff.