1. The Organically Grown Company, Lane County, OregonIt’s likely safe to say the Organically Grown Company leads the way when it comes to donating fresh, organic produce to food banks and those in need. According to an article published in 2015, this organic food distributor, the largest in the Pacific Northwest, had donated 187 tonnes of “perfectly edible” organic produce to the Oregon Food Bank, Food for Lane County, and other gleaner organizations. Apart from fresh produce donations, the company also donates to other charitable causes that advance organic agriculture, education, environmental health, sustainability, and feeding the hungry.
2. Farm Fresh to You, Yolo County, CaliforniaFarm Fresh to You is an organic farm with a community-supported agriculture and home delivery service in California. The farm also offers a Donate-A-Box program to help families in need by allowing anyone to purchase a box of organic fruits and veggies for a food bank of their choice. The program has provided over 60,580 produce boxes to ten California food banks. The general public can also donate boxes. Their website is simple and easy to use, which likely contributes to the program’s success.
3. Feed It Forward, Toronto, OntarioSet up like a food bank in many ways, Feed It Forward is Canada’s first pay-what-you-can grocery store, bakery, and coffee shop. Much of the produce donated to the store—including seasonal fruits and veggies of all kinds—is certified organic. The first-of-its-kind store was opened by Chef Jagger Gordon, a Toronto-based chef, caterer, and food activist. So far, Feed It Forward initiatives, which have included a pop-up kitchen and a feed families freezer program, have diverted more than 67,000 pounds of totally edible food from landfills. Now with a storefront, this number can only be expected to grow.
4. The PACT Urban Peace Program, Toronto, OntarioThe PACT Urban Peace Program is a charity dedicated to working with, supporting and empowering under-served, marginalized, and at-risk youth. One of their initiatives is their Grow-to-Learn gardens, which provides opportunities for schools and community members to learn about gardening. Surplus organic produce from the gardens is also donated to local food banks, used for culinary programs in the schools, or sold at local farmers’ markets with the proceeds going back into the program. Each year, the gardens produce an astounding 20,000+ pounds of organic fruit, vegetables, herbs, and flowers. It doesn’t stop there! Other examples of organizations, farms, and business donating organic produce include:
- The Magnuson Park Community Garden in Seattle, Wisconsin: over 4,700 pounds of organic produce donated in 2015 to food banks and transitional housing programs
- The New Farm in Creemore, Ontario: over $250,000 (by January 2016) of organic produce donated to The Stop Community Food Centre in Toronto, Ontario
- The Madisonville First Christian Church community garden in Madisonville, Kentucky: around 14,000 pounds of food to Christian Food Bank since 2015
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