Spring planting season is about to begin across the nation. Feeding America would like to encourage everyone, from the farmer who cultivates a thousand acres of sweet corn to a gardening enthusiast who grows a plot of vegetables in her backyard, to consider growing crops for a local food bank. Feeding America is the nation's largest domestic hunger-relief organization, providing food and grocery products to more than 37 million low-income Americans each year through a network of more than 200 food banks, which serve every community in the United States.
"We work very hard to get fresh fruits and vegetables to millions of Americans living at risk of hunger throughout our nation, and we are extremely grateful to agricultural producers, farmers, the food and grocery industries, and individuals who donate millions of pounds of fresh produce to us each season. But more is needed," said Bob Aiken, CEO of Feeding America.
There are a number of ways farmers and gardeners can help their local food banks and the pantries they serve:
Harvest for All
The American Farm Bureau's Young Farmers and Ranchers have worked side by side with Feeding America for the past 10 years to help provide food to those in need around our country through the Harvest for All campaign.
The Young Farmers and Ranchers across the nation donate food, funds and volunteer hours to help create a hunger-free America. And whether the contribution is a bushel, a dollar, or an hour, The American Farm Bureau and Feeding America work together with the goal of ensuring that every American can enjoy the bounty produced on the nation's farms and ranches.
In 2013, Young Farmers and Ranchers programs across the country donated nearly 33 million pounds of food, spent more than 13,000 hours volunteering, and gave $810,033 to their local food banks and food pantries.
For more information on how to participate, contact: Marty Tatman, Director, Program Development, American Farm Bureau firstname.lastname@example.org, 202.406.3682 or Jame Borys, Regional Produce Manager, Feeding America email@example.com 312.641.6507.
Invest an Acre
Families who live in the rural and agricultural regions where food is grown face a number of challenges that put them at an even greater risk of hunger.
Invest an Acre is a program that encourages farmers across the country to donate a portion of their crop proceeds to help fight hunger in their own communities. The innovative program was founded by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation.
A check for the sale of grain donated will be issued to Feeding America and distributed to the food bank that directly serves the farmer's community. Monsanto then provides a dollar-for-dollar match of each donation given through Invest an Acre, doubling the resources provided to the communities involved.
Plant a Row For the Hungry
Plant a Row is a public service program of the Garden Writers Association and the GWA Foundation. Garden writers and communicators are asked to encourage their readers, viewers and listeners to plant an extra row of produce each year and donate their surplus to local food pantries, soup kitchens and service organizations to help feed America's hungry.
"There are over 84 million households with a yard or garden in the U.S. If every gardener plants one extra row of vegetables and donates their surplus to local food agencies and soup kitchens, a significant impact can be made on reducing hunger," said Robert C. LaGasse, executive director of the Garden Writers Association.
For 2014, the Plant a Row (PAR) program has kicked off its"20-n-20" fight against hunger – over 20 million pounds raised nationwide in 20 years through the PAR campaign.
Plant a Row provides training, direction and support to volunteer committees that promote herb, vegetable and community gardening at the local level. They also assist in coordinating the local food collection systems and monitor the volume of donations being conveyed to food agencies.
Call the Plant A Row hotline 877.492.2727 to find a local PAR campaign near you.
Those interested in helping their local food bank this planting season should contact their local food bank by using Feeding America's"food bank finder" at http://feedingamerica.org/find-your-local-foodbank/.
Please contact one of our media representatives or call 800-771-2303