Since this summer, nearly 500 Farm Credit Mid-America employees have collected, packaged and distributed locally grown farmer produce to place in food banks across the company’s four state territory of Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. The volunteer initiative is part of Farm Credit’s four-year financial commitment to provide fresh produce to distribution networks in the area, which connect surplus and donated produce from local farmers with food banks, food kitchens, community churches and other emergency food providers.
As part of the commitment, Farm Credit will work with Farms to Food Banks in Kentucky and Indiana, Farm to Families in Tennessee and the Ohio Ag Clearance Program to stock food shelves. In late September, Farm Credit Mid-America employees volunteered their time at Lynd Fruit Farm in Pataskala, Ohio.
“There’s a gap between agriculture in middle America and communities in need,” said Bill Johnson, president and CEO, Farm Credit Mid-America. “Produce distribution programs working to bridge that gap show that everyone can benefit from agriculture’s output.”
At volunteer events occurring through October, Farm Credit employees will serve at each stage of product distribution: gleaning produce from local farms, packaging the products and other supplies, and distributing them throughout local communities. Farm Credit will staff nearly 40 volunteer shifts and locations, with some of those taking place on customers’ farms.
“Our purpose is to secure the future of rural communities and agriculture by sharing agriculture’s value to those who may not have daily exposure and access to agricultural products,” said Johnson. “By working with programs that bring produce from area farmers to those in need, we’re supporting our local communities while making agriculture more visible and accessible to the public.”
The program is an evolution of efforts conducted in 2015, where more than 75 Louisville-based employees spent a day gleaning peppers, kale and other vegetables from a local farm and then packaging and distributing that produce at a senior care facility. The efforts resulted in more than a ton of produce being sent to a local food bank distribution center.
For more about the Farms to Food Banks program, visit e-farmcredit.com/communi