CHICAGO, April 22, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Spring planting season has started around the nation and Feeding America would like to encourage everyone – from gardener to farmer – to help grow crops for their local food bank or food pantry.
Feeding America is the nation's largest domestic hunger-relief organization, providing food and grocery products to 46 million low-income Americans each year through a network of 200 food banks, which serve every community in the United States.
"One of our biggest priorities at Feeding America is to provide fresh produce to the people we serve. We are extremely grateful to agricultural producers, farmers, the food and grocery industries as well as individuals who donate millions of pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables to us each season. Last year we were able to source more than one billion pounds of fresh produce for our clients, but more is needed." said Bob Aiken, CEO of Feeding America.
There are a number of ways farmers and gardeners can help their local food banks and the pantries they serve:
Invest An Acre
Invest An Acre was developed in response to a problem that seemed like a paradox – many people living in farming communities that feed the world also struggle with hunger. According to Feeding America's Map the Meal Gap 2015 study, counties with the highest rates of food insecurity are more likely to be found in rural areas.
Created by The Howard G. Buffett Foundation in partnership with Feeding America, ADM, Cargill, and Monsanto, the Invest An Acre program encourages farmers across the country to donate an acre or more of crop proceeds to help fight hunger in their own communities, to ensure that no one goes hungry in the land of plenty.
Now in its fourth year, Invest An Acre has raised more than $2 million dollars to fight hunger in rural communities. For every dollar donated, the local food bank that serves the farmer's community can secure an average of three meals. Monsanto matches every donation dollar for dollar, doubling the impact of a farmer's donation to the local community.
Harvest for All
The American Farm Bureau's Young Farmers and Ranchers have worked side by side with Feeding America for the past 12 years to help provide food to those in need around our country through the Harvest for All campaign.
The Young Farmers and Ranchers across the nation donate food, funds and volunteer hours to help create a hunger-free America. And whether the contribution is a bushel, a dollar, or an hour, The American Farm Bureau and Feeding America work together with the goal of ensuring that every American can enjoy the bounty produced on the nation's farms and ranches.
In 2014, Young Farmers and Ranchers programs across the country donated nearly 42 million pounds of food, spent nearly 14,000 hours volunteering, and gave more than $1.2 million to their local food banks and food pantries.
For more information on how to participate, contact: Marty Tatman, Director, Program Development, American Farm Bureau [email protected], 202.406.3682 or James Borys, Regional Produce Manager, Feeding America [email protected] 312.641.6507.
Plant a Row for the Hungry
Plant a Row is a public service program of the Garden Writers Association and the GWA Foundation. Garden writers and communicators are asked to encourage their readers, viewers and listeners to plant an extra row of produce each year and donate their surplus to local food pantries, meal programs and service organizations to help feed America's hungry.
"There are over 84 million households with a yard or garden in the U.S. If every gardener plants one extra row of vegetables and donates their surplus to local food agencies and soup kitchens, a significant impact can be made on reducing hunger," said Robert C. LaGasse, executive director of the Garden Writers Association.
Plant a Row provides training, direction and support to volunteer committees that promote herb, vegetable and community gardening at the local level. They also assist in coordinating the local food collection systems and monitor the volume of donations being conveyed to food agencies.
Call the Plant A Row hotline 877.492.2727 to find a local Plant a Row campaign near you.
Those interested in helping their local food bank this planting season should contact their local food bank by using Feeding America's "food bank finder" at http://feedingamerica.org/foodbank-results.aspx.
Feeding America is the nationwide network of 200 food banks that leads the fight against hunger in the United States. Together, we provide food to more than 46 million people through 60,000 food pantries and meal programs in communities across America. Feeding America also supports programs that improve food security among the people we serve; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Individuals, charities, businesses and government all have a role in ending hunger. Donate. Volunteer. Advocate. Educate. Together we can solve hunger. Visit www.feedingamerica.org, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.
SOURCE Feeding America