Solving the Produce Distribution Problem to Feed our Hungry Neighbors
Sweet corn and cantaloupe are just two fresh foods making their way to our picnic tables this summer.
People who visit food shelves greatly appreciate foods like these, too. Produce—whether direct from the farm, or from the fresh foods sections of our region’s grocery stores—is the largest untapped source of new meals for distribution through food shelves and other hunger-relief programs. It also supports the health of those we serve.
So how do we get produce like sweet corn and other highly perishable products distributed when there is only a six to eight day window for distribution? It takes all of us along the distribution channels to be up to the task and ready with refrigeration, storage and transportation to accommodate faster distribution than what traditional hunger-relief systems typically accomplish.
Share Fresh Minnesota, in partnership with the Feeding America food banks serving Minnesota, sources large-scale donations of fresh fruits and vegetables directly from local farmers to distribute to hungry families and individuals in our region. In partnership with 46 local growers, the Share Fresh Minnesota program has grown from collecting 2.3 million pounds of produce in 2011, to more than 9.8 million pounds last year – and this is only a portion of the produce we collect.
Sourcing produce isn’t enough; by working with our agency partners, pioneering new programs and partnerships, we can continue to ensure produce is reaching our neighbors in need.
Produce is an equalizer. Having regular access to tasty, enjoyable and healthful foods provides hope. As we think of how we to address the challenges with distribution of fresh produce, our hungry neighbors are what motivate us to find new ways to best serve them.
Learn more about Share Fresh Minnesota and how you can help by watching this short video.