Farm Share is proud to distribute fresh and nutritious food to those who need it most.
Billions of pounds of fruits and vegetables go to waste every year in America. Plenty of food waste happens in farms, and the main reason for produce being thrown away is cosmetic for unappealing color, shape and size. This is mostly driven by supermarkets that don’t want to display “ugly” produce on their shelves.
After seeing good produce thrown away because it didn’t meet standards cosmetically, Patricia Robbins decided to launch Farm Share in 1991, and started calling local farmers. It was a win-win situation as they didn’t have to watch the fruits of their labor go to waste, and they contributed to a good cause to alleviate hunger.
After 28 years, Farm Share is still driven to help people in need. Based in Homestead, it distributes free of charge fresh produce and federal food packages to Florida’s 67 counties, feeding hungry people from Pensacola to Key West and everywhere in between.
To do so, Farm Share relies on local farmers and brokers who donate the produce that fails to meet market conditions. “In Florida, twenty percent of farmers’ produce (fruits and vegetables) goes to retail stores and supermarkets; the remaining 80 percent goes to waste,” says John Delgado, operations assistant at Farm Share. It also gets local, federal and state funding, and private donations to sustain the operation.
On the other side of the supply chain, Farm Share has built partnerships with more than 2,000 food pantries, soup kitchens, churches, senior centers, veteran groups, and other nonprofit organizations that receive the food. Last year alone, Farm Share distributed more than 55 million pounds of food to more than 17.5 million households residing in Florida.
To qualify to become Farm Share partners, organizations and agencies must undergo a thorough process. For instance, it is essential to be registered in Florida as a nonprofit, and, most importantly, partners can´t make commercial transactions out of donations.
“There are two ways to distribute food out to the community. Partners pick up from us and distribute in their area; on the other hand, we deliver to the community directly with the support of government officials and law enforcement. People come and line up. We serve from 500 to 1000 people in three hours,” adds John Delgado.
Farm Share optimizes its operational efficiency through the support of a solid network of volunteers, that allows it to keep its administrative overhead to less than one percent of its operational budget. Right now, it has only 51 employees in its four warehouses around Florida.
Currently, Farm Share keeps working hard to keep its mission to alleviate hunger and fight poverty in Florida. To donate, volunteer, or for more information about Farm Share, call (305) 246-3276 or visit www.farmshare.org.
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