Food banks seek to double farm donations – from The Packer

Food Bank 2014 and 2 people holding a box of apples

By Mike Hornick

An effort to double California grower contributions to food banks is underway.

The California Association of Food Banks and the California State Board of Food and Agriculture have set a goal to increase annual contributions from 100 million pounds to 200 million in 2015, according to a news release.

More than 100 California growers participate in the association’s Farm to Family program, sharing surplus foods or items that are unmarketable. More than 50 fruit and vegetable varieties are donated to food banks throughout the state.

California Grown, which is managed by the Buy California Marketing Agreement, is backing the effort with a campaign aimed at getting an additional 1 million pounds of produce donated to food banks through social media activity. Consumers who share a photo of a product grown in the state on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #CAGrown, will generate a 1-pound donation through a California Grown member.

“We know one in four children and one in six adults in California regularly go hungry, and collaboration between farmers and food banks can help turn those numbers around,” Karen Ross, secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, said in the release. “The Farm to Family program is a unique opportunity for California farmers and ranchers to strengthen their communities.”

Interested growers can contact the California Association of Food Banks (http://www.cafoodbanks.org/) which handles donation transportation and logistics. Some growers and ranchers may be eligible for reimbursement of modest picking and packing costs, or for a state tax credit incentive.

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2 Responses to Food banks seek to double farm donations – from The Packer

  1. California has the most expensive real estate in the country. That alone is a reason not to waste a single piece of produce that is grown on it, regardless of whether it conforms to some “industry standard” or not.
    I know from my own experience of picking pears how much perfectly good produce gets wasted for reasons we should be ashamed of.
    I don’t blame the farmers for any of that: they just do whatever they need to do to make a living and if consumers only buy big, perfect looking fruit, there is no point in paying somebody to pick what you can’t sell, unless you can afford to have it picked for donating to food banks, which I’m afraid some farmers actually can’t.
    So, a reimbursement for picking and packing costs or a tax incentive is a must to make this idea work. Who is picking up the tab for that, I wonder?

  2. Unfortunately, Food Banks are critical in California, (the land of plenty) and even our valiant farm workers need assistance due to the drought! No food should ever go wasted! By the way, bravo to the Nisei Farmers League in Fresno, who today donated $30,000 to the Community Food Bank.

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