California Agriculture Contributes Record Amount of Farm Products to Food Banks
The California Association of Food Banks’ Farm to Family program received a record 150 million pounds of donated produce in 2015 from farmers, ranchers, packers and shippers dedicated to helping their communities.
One in six adults and one in four children in California suffer food insecurity. More than 150 farmers are committed to positively changing this situation by increasing the amount of fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy and other farm products distributed by food banks.
Farm to Family takes excess or secondary products from fields and cold storage to a network of 43 member food banks throughout the state. Food can be donated outright or farmers may receive a modest reimbursement for harvesting costs. This makes Farm to Family a solution for farmers in addition to benefiting families who may be in need of a little help putting nutritious food on the table.
“Our Farm to Family team prides itself on our logistics and transportation expertise, which farmers tell us is an asset to working with our program,” said Sue Sigler, executive director of the California Association of Food Banks. “All it takes is one phone call, email or text, and we’ll move quickly to send a truck to your facility. We’ll pick up your donation and distribute it to our member food banks throughout the state, starting with your local food bank.”
Citrus, berries, stone fruit, leafy greens, squash, carrots, melons, potatoes and more were distributed last year through the California Association of Food Banks’ network of 6,000 charities, food pantries and soup kitchens. The California Association of Food Banks hopes to increase contributions of other farm products, including dairy, eggs, chicken and beef, in 2016.
A new video has just been released – thanks to a grant from the Walmart Foundation – to promote the program’s benefits and encourage more contributions. The video features testimonials from Jack Vessey of Vessey Company in Imperial County, and Deborah and George Adam of Innovative Produce in Santa Barbara County, with each sharing unique perspectives on working with Farm to Family.
The California Association of Food Banks’ Farm to Family program bridges the gap between California farmers and people in need of a little help. More than 100 farmers, ranchers, packers and shippers contribute more than 50 different food products to food banks through Farm to Family. Learn more and get involved at http://cafoodbanks.org/farm-family
Farm to Family contributors may receive a few cents per pound reimbursement to help cover picking and pack out costs. They can also take advantage of a state tax credit and federal tax deduction for participating in the program. These financial incentives mean Farm to Family can be a lucrative alternative to dumping surplus product or sending it to other secondary markets.
To make a donation to Farm to Family, contact Steve Linkhart at 510-350-9916 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Residents with backyard harvest interested in making a smaller donation should contact their local food bank directly. A directory of local food banks can be found at cafoodbanks.org.
About Farm to Family
The California Association of Food Banks’ Farm to Family program delivers wholesome fruits, vegetables, nuts, eggs, dairy and other farm products from California fields to local food banks. As the nation’s leading produce recovery program, Farm to Family provides a market alternative for farmers, ranchers and packers for products that may otherwise go unused. For more information on the California Association of Food Banks or the Farm to Family program, visit cafoodbanks.org.