Fresh Produce Initiative

There is more than enough food to end hunger, and Second Harvest Heartland is working hard to provide access to provide fresh fruits and vegetables in supporting a balanced diet and overall health.

Second Harvest Heartland’s Fresh Produce Initiative provides a full picture of sourcing fresh produce, providing client access, leadership and advocacy. By partnering with leaders and local community members, Second Harvest Heartland finds ways to rescue more food that would have otherwise gone to waste and use it to feed more people.


Sourcing more fresh produce

  • Food Bank

    Second Harvest Heartland is a food bank and more. Last year, we distributed more than 113 million pounds of food—107 million meals—to our partners in hunger-relief. Of the 107 million meals distributed, more than 62% was fresh, including meats, produce, bakery and dairy items.

    As we work to increase the variety and amount of fresh, healthy foods distributed, our work changes to address the complexity and challenges associated with handling a larger number of perishable products. We’re excited to be pioneering new ways to safely and efficiently source and distribute more fresh food for our hungry neighbors and help change the hunger-relief system.

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  • Farm to Food Shelf

    Second Harvest Heartland and the five other Feeding America food banks serving Minnesota are committed to expanding partnerships to access the abundance of fresh produce from local farmers, commercial growers and processors. The Farm to Food Shelf program re-directs produce that would otherwise go un- harvested by Minnesota growers into the emergency hunger relief system.

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  • Midwest Region Produce Cooperative

    Founded in March 2016, the MRPC provides a means to source and efficiently distribute surplus produce to increase varieties and offered to 2HH agency partners and peer food banks across the upper Midwest.

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  • Retail Food Rescue

    Every day, our Retail Food Rescue program collects thousands of pounds of produce, dairy, deli, meat, bakery and grocery items from nearly 500 retail partners. An important component of our overall produce strategy, Food Rescue sources/provides nearly half of the produce distributed by Second Harvest Heartland. More than 60% of the Food Rescue product is collected through facilitated agency partnerships with donors with their communities, keeping the produce donations fresh and local.

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Continuing to support fresh produce efforts


We know that ending hunger is not something we can do alone. Hunger-relief requires commitment, resources and action on all fronts, including the public policy arena. That is why Second Harvest Heartland is committed to advocating for programs and policies that get food and nutrition to those who need it most and feed as many as possible within our region. As one of the nation’s largest, most efficient and innovative hunger relief organizations, we leverage our unique position to connect community voices, issues and stories with elected officials and public policy-makers in addition to mobilizing support for ending hunger.

Food distribution partners and programs

Second Harvest Heartland is in the business of distributing large amounts of donated food to a variety of organizations and programs that directly serve clients.


  • Agency Partners

    Second Harvest Heartland works in close partnership with nearly 1,000 agency partner programs in Minnesota and western Wisconsin that provide direct client service to people in need.

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  • SFSP (Summer Food Service Program)

    A program that provides meals during the summer months for kids who rely on free or reduced-price meals during the school year.

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  • SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program/Food Stamps) Outreach

    Our specialists work to inform and educate eligible hungry people about already-funded federal SNAP assistance.

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  • CSFP (Community Supplemental Food Program)

    Once a month, Second Harvest Heartland fulfills this federal nutrition program by providing a box of nutritious food to low-income seniors 60 years and over.

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Child Hunger Initiative

Second Harvest Heartland is committed to a number of powerful efforts in our Child Hunger Initiative that help more children and families gain access to wholesome food.

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Hunger & Health Initiative

Collaboration between the health care and hunger relief sectors offers an opportunity to improve outcomes for our low-income neighbors in addition, to reach new neighbors through a sustainable, trusted channel.

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