In one of the first agreements of its kind between California producers and a county food bank, two farms will begin providing, at a reasonable rate, produce to the Alameda County Community Food Bank, allowing it to provide additional much-needed fresh fruit and vegetables to a growing number of residents in need of assistance. This innovative pilot program assists the food banks while keeping the agricultural supply chain together which is critical to the future of food supply.
“We are excited that our members have the opportunity to collaborate with like-minded organizations such as the Alameda County Food Bank who support initiatives like Food as Medicine. The COVID-19 pandemic has focused our efforts on building and supporting the health and wellbeing of our broader communities; ensuring the future of fresh produce plays a paramount role in our efforts. This partnership enables our food supply chain to stay intact and therefore our producers can continue to grow fresh produce at the same level,” says Kirti Mutakar, Chief Executive Officer of UnitedAg.
“When the COVID-19 crisis hit, and the foodservice operations all came to a standstill overnight, millions of jobs were lost and with it the demand for our produce. To bring more diverse options to the foodbank, and at the same time recover our cost to grow and harvest it, creative solutions were necessary to take care of those who need it most and help keep agriculture whole,” says A.J. Cisney, General Manager of Rancho Guadalupe.
Deliveries will begin May 5, with nearly 4,000 pounds of strawberries from Andrew & Williamson / Good Farms, Rancho Guadalupe, and over 7,000 crowns of broccoli from Dynasty Farms. These are foods that have not been regularly available at the food banks. The pilot program hopes to expand into the larger state network of food banks (California Association of Food Banks) and increase its product offerings. UnitedAg Member Farms are hopeful this concept will grow into something bigger.
Founded in 1980, UnitedAg is a multi-commodity member-owned agricultural trade association dedicated to providing innovative healthcare solutions for a strong and healthy agricultural industry. Our over 1,000 agriculture affiliated member organizations network and share creative ways to transform our ever-changing industry. UnitedAg strives to bring innovative health benefits and solutions to agribusiness by meeting our member’s employee health benefits needs, advocating for ag with lawmakers and helping members comply with regulations. Based in Irvine, Calif., UnitedAg has offices in Oxnard, Corona, Salinas, Fresno and Santa Maria.