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.