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 2017 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.
2017 Farm to Food Pantry
During the 2017 growing season, 12 partner sites across Washington were engaged in the F2FP initiative. WSDA dedicated funding and partnered with RFH to coordinate the project. RFH worked with lead agencies to develop contracts with local growers and distributed F2FP funds to participating sites. Recipient sites used F2FP funds to leverage locally matching funds to increase the amount available for their projects, nearly doubling the amount of funding through the initiative.
Farms participating in F2FP in 2017
Food pantries receiving produce through F2FP in 2017
WA counties served through F2FP in 2017
Pounds of produce purchased/gleaned/donated in 2017
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 about to begin its fifth year in the spring of 2018, 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.
2017 F2FP Report
Click on the photo to the left to view and download the full 2017 Farm to Food Pantry report.
The report highlights activities from each of the 12 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
2018 Farm to Food Pantry Lead Agency Sites
We are pleased to announce our 2018 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. Community Services
- Okanogan Community Action Council
- Rainier Valley Food Bank
- South King County Food Coalition
- Volunteers of America Western WA
- WSU Extension Clallam
- WSU Extension Jefferson