Farm to Table for the Hungry

I have been grilling chicken, smoking Texas style beef brisket and frying turkeys over the Thanks Giving and Christmas holidays and have several recipes to share. But, my thoughts lately have been on developing a simple community service project which both feeds the hungry with healthy fresh food from the farm and supports small family farms like the farmers I talk to at my local farmers market.

I have notice that several of these farmers have subscription based programs in which you pay a monthly subscription and receive weekly or bi-weekly boxes of produce or meat based on their seasonal harvest.

The thought came to me that these boxes could really be used by non-profits which prepare food and feed the hungry. I have helped serve food at a local men’s shelter in my community and the food is mostly prepackaged foods loaded with carbs and there is not a fresh vegetable to be seen, a lot of staples from food drives.

Now, how to locate  resources and connect small family farms and non-profits feeding the hungry? That is the question. Would a simple web store work where you could match a family farm to  a charity along with your donation work?

Please post our ideas. I look forward to hearing from you.

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{ 4 comments… add one }

  • Stephanie Parker January 4, 2014, 11:42 pm

    I haven’t worked at a shelter, so forgive my ignorance. Do shelters have the ability to store/house perishables such as veggies? I’m wondering if perhaps they may be limited on space, thus omit anything that’s not pre-packaged?

    If they have the space, I wonder if there’s a way to also connect seasonal, local farmer’s markets that could perhaps give “near expiration” or “cannot sell beyond this date” items directly to the shelters?

    It may need to start as a simple face-to-face or phone/email convo with the produce suppliers to see if they already have something in place to connect to charities and how they do it. If they don’t, gauge their interest and see if they’d be willing to meet to discuss. A website would, of course, be awesome! There would be time and skill involved in creating and maintaining such technology. Maybe the initial plan could entail just paper forms or emails until it grows down the road, thus justifying a website. Maybe a part of the volunteer process for the shelters would include sending a volunteer to one of the suppliers to pick up the veggies and deliver them to the shelter. Or perhaps the suppliers could schedule it weekly/bi-weekly as part of their predetermined routes?

    • Lawrence January 15, 2014, 4:04 am

      Great ideas, I have started researching some and there are several groups to partner with and assist them to partner with each other. Linking seed to table groups with groups which prepare meals has a lot of possibilities and could be fun.

      Step one in my research was to partner with a local farm family to put food on our family table. So, I bought a seven week subscription to Bush-N-Vine family farm in York, SC this week through their web page/blog. They deliver to Jessie Brown in South Park with a basket of what ever is in season priced at about 21 and change a week, 150.00 total, and paid upfront in January with pickups starting in March. They are a family farm three generations deep in Clemson grades but I will not hold that against them. Go Game Cocks!

  • Charlie January 22, 2014, 5:25 pm

    Sounds good. I would think most shelters use whatever is available to them. I know food pantry’s ask for a lot of pre-packaged products like mac and cheese.

    • Lawrence January 23, 2014, 12:44 pm

      I have seen a few seed nonprofits like Seed Savers and gardening/god prep orgs like Friendship Trays and various soup kitchens. It would be cool to see more collaboration.

      So, lately any time I have for volunteer work I invest in Restore Global, now Access 2 Excess, which builds collaborations with for profits and nonprofits.

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