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Bringing Garden Fresh into Food Banks

Bringing Garden Fresh into Food Banks


When people think of food banks, they often think of non-perishable food drives. Stacks of boxed mac and cheese, tons of canned foods, big bags of pasta and rice. Those foods certainly do fill bellies, which is good, but some organizations are stepping up their efforts to ensure more balanced nutrition and fresh foods for food insecure families. By thinking outside the box and engaging with local communities, schools, and farmers, these amazing programs are revolutionizing the food bank system.

  • In Toronto, the Second Harvest food bank is the main provider of fresh food to people in need in that city. Working with local food retailers, manufacturers, restaurants and caterers, they collect and distribute over 6 million pounds of fresh food over the course of a year. In addition to giving fresh food to families, bagged lunches for children, and meals for seniors and people with special dietary needs, they also help to reduce pollution by diverting excess food from landfills (resulting in reduction of over 3 million pounds of greenhouse gases each year).
  • Heritage Academy, an Ottawa school for students with learning disabilities, is running a potato project, using reused olive barrels to grow potatoes vertically. By the end of the growing season, each barrel should yield around 40 pounds of potatoes.  This project adds to the arsenal of school gardening projects at Heritage Academy, which started seven years ago when a grade 8 student asked how to grow pickles. In a blog post, the school wrote about the garden revolution that is happening in schools and explained how its program grew from that one pickle patch to eight organic vegetable beds and the potato project.

These amazing, sustainable and nutritious ways to fight hunger while also educating people about food sources, are excellent examples of the food revolution. Does your community have initiatives that combine volunteerism and learning to bring fresh food to hungry families?

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Photo credit: Woodley Wonderworks on flickr

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3:09AM PDT on Apr 15, 2014

Thank you

4:53PM PDT on Oct 12, 2012


9:11AM PDT on Jun 5, 2012


10:22PM PDT on Jun 2, 2012


6:43AM PDT on May 30, 2012

great article

7:33PM PDT on May 29, 2012

Great idea!! It takes fresh foods to make people healthy!

11:19PM PDT on May 26, 2012

Wow, great news.

5:03PM PDT on May 26, 2012

Terrific idea! I hope that it spreads further quickly.

11:08AM PDT on May 26, 2012


10:16AM PDT on May 26, 2012

Great news for a change!!!!

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