To improve access to locally grown produce for communities in need, more than 10 Farm Credit Mid-America employees in Ohio harvested and packaged more than 28,000 pounds of produce for communities in need during a four-month volunteer effort. This summer, employees volunteered their time as part of a commitment to provide fresh produce to food banks in the four-state area of Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee, making use of excess and donated produce from area farms. Overall, the effort netted 97,000 pounds of produce for the four-state area.
Farm Credit Mid-America partnered with Ag Clearance Program, a program that directs surplus and donated agricultural products from farmers to food bank distribution centers. From there, the produce makes its way to food kitchens, community churches and other emergency food providers throughout local communities.
“Ag Clearance Program is a home for the produce farmers either donate or cannot sell,” said Mary Courtney, who operates Courtney Farms in Bagdad, Ky. “By participating in this program, we know that we’re providing food to people who need it instead of turning it into compost.”
In Ohio, more than 100 Farm Credit employees volunteered in 10 locations. All told, the volunteers packaged 15,600 pounds of produce and harvested 13,000 pounds of apples.
“Through the combined efforts of farmers, our industry partners and Farm Credit Mid-America we’re making agriculture more accessible to the public while strengthening the communities where we live and work,” said Bill Johnson, president and CEO, Farm Credit Mid-America.
The volunteer effort went beyond connecting excess and donated produce with emergency food providers. In addition to the produce harvested and packaged across the state, volunteers also assembled 2,880 weekend backpacks, distributed 1,700 meal packages and packaged 1,606 boxes of non-perishable food.
For more about the Farms to Food Banks program, visit e-farmcredit.com/community.