Area food banks and other organizations are getting a boost, thanks to some volunteers from an agricultural lending cooperative. About 10 employees from Farm Credit Mid-America were at the Rice Family Farm near Wanatah Thursday to pick tomatoes.
Farm Credit Regional Vice President Doug Cox says the produce will be given to Feeding Indiana’s Hungry’s Farms to Food Banks program. “The Farms to Food Banks program actually coordinates and helps get this food that we’re gleaning today to the distribution center in South Bend,” he said. “At that location there, then they will farm out that food, that gleaned produce, to different food pantries, community churches, and other emergency food shelters.”
Cox notes that about one-in-six people rely on food pantries and other emergency sources for daily nutrition, according to research conducted by Feeding America, “So there is a very real need out there in Indiana, and this is one way that Farm Credit Mid- America can partner with great programs like Feeding Indiana’s Hungry and food banks and also partnering with farmers to provide that healthy produce and nutrition to their diets.”
He says that collecting and donating surplus crops fits into the cooperative’s efforts to strengthen the future of agricultural communities. “What we’re trying to do, not only by providing financial services, but also connecting the communities to what our farmers actually produce, so that when an individual that is not from a farm that could be two and three generations removed from the farm, can learn about and know where a tomato is actually from, where that ketchup actually comes from, as opposed to just a bottle, but relating it all the way back to the farmers that produced the product,” Cox says.
Farmer Scott Rice says he’s happy to have the organization at his farm. “We’re thrilled to partner with Farm Credit and with the food banks,” he says. “It helps us connect with the consumers a little more. So we’re just glad to be able to help out.”
Overall, about 500 Farm Credit Mid-America employees are taking part in similar events in four states, collecting surplus crops for organizations serving those in need.