Irvine, September 29, 2017 – Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County hosted an event on Friday, September 29th to shine the spotlight on California farmers and ranchers who support organizations leading the way in contributing healthy California-grown products to food insecure populations.
Over 245,000 pounds of California-grown and produced foods were donated to the food banks for the event including 5 truckloads of mushrooms from Monterey Mushrooms, 200 Foster Farms whole turkeys, 2 truckloads of rice products, including 2 pallets of Orca beans from Lundberg Family Farms representing 82,000 pounds, 1 truckload of pears from Rivermaid Trading Company representing 40,000 pounds, ½ truck load of stone fruit from Venida Packing representing 20,000 pounds, ½ truckload of apples from Prima Frutta Packing Company, 1 truckload of citrus from Wonderful Citrus representing 40,000 pounds, 5 bottles of olive oil from the California Olive Oil Council, 15,700 pounds of potatoes from Veg-Fresh, one pallet of watermelons from Yosemite Fresh, 2 pallets of Frieda’s assorted produce, 21,000 pounds of Coman Hamburgers, and 14,000 pounds of Driftwood Dairy Milk. The food was divided between Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County and the Orange County Food Bank, and ended up on the tables of food insecure Orange County residents.
The event featured an address from Secretary Karen Ross of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, who commended the farmers and ranchers who donated for their commitment to improving the lives of Californians. She also announced the news that Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. had released a proclamation that declares September as Farm to Food Bank Month, addressing the need for donations throughout the year. Remarks were also made by Nicole Suydam, CEO of Second Harvest of Orange County, Sue Sigler, Executive Director of the California Association of Food Banks, and OC Produce Co-owner and former California Secretary of Food and Agriculture, A.G. Kawamura who donates product, as well as time to Second Harvest.
Nearly seven years ago, the California State Board of Food and Agriculture set an ambitious goal – work with the state’s farmers and ranchers to double contributions of fresh foods to food banks; from 100 million pounds to 200 million pounds annually. While this goal was met earlier in 2017, there are still many Californians who face hunger daily. By highlighting individual farmers who give back regularly and organizations who effectively distribute donations, the generosity can inspire others in California to do the same.