Bringing fresh produce to food banks
It’s not always simple to give food to food banks. Exhibit A: The uproar over the deer population in Shawnee Mission Park this summer and concerns over a plan to donate deer meat to local food pantries.
Regulations are designed to ensure that the food is safe to consume and has been properly handled. To be accepted by Harvesters, game meat needs to be processed and stamped at the United States Department of Agriculture.
But two groups on opposite coasts hope to change the way food is donated to nonprofits like Harvesters, using social media and technology to connect volunteers with food pantries.
Food Forward, a collective in Los Angeles, uses e-mail, Facebook, blogs and Twitter to help bring together volunteers, fruit tree owners and food banks. The idea is to have people help harvest fruit trees in neighborhoods, where otherwise the bounty would go to waste. Filmmaker Elizabeth Dell tells the Los Angeles Times that what’s satisfying is how easy this concept is to grasp:
“You understand the value of what you’re doing. You just picked 1,200 pounds of fruit. And we all know that within three calendar days that will be in the hands of people all over Los Angeles who really need it.”
Last year, 30,000 pounds of produce were donated to area food pantries.