Farm to Food Pantry
A collaboration for hunger relief and agricultural development
Getting fresh produce into the emergency food system is an increasingly important part of hunger-relief efforts in communities across Washington.
Rotary First Harvest is partnering with the Washington State Department of Agriculture, Harvest Against Hunger host sites, farmers, food pantries, and local funders to expand the Farm to Food Pantry initiative that was launched as a pilot in 2014.
Results from F2FP 2018 showed that purchasing directly from a local farmer will increase the availability of local crops while improving access to healthier food choices for families and individuals in need. These direct purchasing contracts dramatically strengthens the bond between farmers and hunger relief programs. Results continue to show that if a farmer has a strong relationship with a local food pantry they are significantly more inclined to make additional produce donations through either gleaning or post-harvest.
We’ve compiled reports from previous seasons in our online RFH Produce Recovery Guide. Recommendations from previous pilot programs show that sites should consider creating contracts with growers, making payments before delivery (“seeds in the ground”), and engaging multiple farms. By taking these steps, the sites should be able to grow new relationships and strengthen the existing ones that they have with local farms.
Legislative District Information Sheets
Our friends at the Washington State Department of Agriculture created a series of Legislative District Information sheets that show F2FP impact in communities across the state.
Each sheet provides detailed information organized by legislative district, including:
- Lead agency or agencies
- Amount of 2018 state and community investment
- Pounds of produce purchased
- Total pounds of produce received
- Participating food pantries
- Participating farms
- Emergency Food Assistance Program (EFAP) service data
Contracting and Program Models
Specific program models used (e.g. scheduled pre-harvest purchase vs. ad-hoc post-harvest purchase) will be determined by the host site and will be based on needs of the local hunger relief program. It is important that the host site creates a balance between increasing the availability of healthy produce for lower-income individuals, while also supporting local agricultural efforts.
Testing, Learning & Growing
Although F2FP is began its sixth year in the spring of 2019, we will still approach it as a pilot by encouraging participants to develop new models in close partnership with their growers. This will help us to develop a deeper understanding of what makes partnerships effective and beneficial for all parties. What works well in some communities may not work in other areas where farming practices are different, or food bank needs more diverse.
We believe the results and ongoing expansion of the F2FP initiative is an effective way to support local agriculture through food pantries, and look forward to continuing to develop this winning formula for hunger relief and food system growth in Washington.
2019 F2FP Locations
We are pleased to announce our 2019 F2FP initiative partner sites:
- Blue Mountain Action Council
- Clark County Food Bank
- Community Cupboard / UV MEND
- Community Action of Skagit County
- Council on Aging & Human Services
- N.E.W. Hunger Coalition
- O.I.C. of Washington
- Okanogan Community Action Council
- Kitsap Conversation District
- WSU Extension Grays Harbor / Coastal Harvest
- Volunteers of America Western WA
- WSU Extension Clallam
- Jefferson County Food Coalition
2018 F2FP Report
Click on the photo to the right to view and download the full 2018 Farm to Food Pantry report.
The report highlights activities from each of the 14 participating Lead Agencies, as well as spotlight information on best-practices and new programs that were developed to better connect participating sites with local farmers.
The report also provides qualitative and quantitative information gleaned from both farmers and food pantries that partnered with Lead Agencies, including:
- Counties served
- Key findings
- Types of crops purchased and donated (per site)
- Pounds of crops purchased and donated (per site)
- Feedback from farmers and food pantries
- Recommendations for future project development
- Opportunities for sharing the initiative across additional areas