The 300 million-pound problem, as told by Mini Cooper

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August 4, 2016 By: Jens Pinther Category: SHH News Tags: Share Fresh, fresh produce

Two enormous problems plague Minnesota. The first is one in ten of our neighbors is hungry. The other is, the USDA estimates 300 million pounds of produce goes to waste each year in this state alone, simply because it’s not as perfect in appearance as their other produce counterparts.

On Mini Cooper’s Mini Takes the States campaign nationwide road trip, they stopped by the Twin Cities to discover how Second Harvest Heartland is seeking to connect these two large state-wide problems and bring them together to work toward a solution.

As Gary Pahl of Pahl’s Market says in the video below, “Everybody buys with their eyes. Cucumbers taste the same whether they’re crooked or they’re straight.” Second Harvest Heartland is working to put high quality produce into the hands of Minnesota’s hungry.

“The rapid increase of [hunger] demand forced us to think outside the box,” said Rob Zeaske, CEO of Second Harvest Heartland.

Thinking outside the box for Second Harvest Heartland means to view problems as solutions and to see innovative relationships as the way to get there. As Hunger Programs Manager Pat Pearson said in the video, the success of Second Harvest Heartland relies on community partnerships.

The food bank is reaching out to farmers like Gary Pahl from Pahl’s Market, offering to cover the cost of harvesting and boxing fresh produce that will not sell. In addition, we are working with the farmers to get this produce delivered to those who need it most. This is partially made possible through support from the “Farm to Foodshelf” grant – funded by the State of Minnesota.

Pahl told us in the video what one of his employees recently said.

“This corn isn’t going to go to waste. Somebody’s going to actually get a meal out of this.”

This is the kind of reward that comes from helping our neighbors.

You can watch the whole video below. To see the rest of Mini Cooper’s road trip campaign, check out the #DEFYHUNGER and #MTTS2016 hashtags on social media.


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