Contact: Lynne Richmond
(TRENTON) – New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher today announced Farmers Against Hunger (FAH) is the recipient of this year’s $100,000 Gleaning Support Grant, made possible through the Department of Agriculture’s State Food Purchase Program.
“Farmers Against Hunger gives farmers an opportunity to take their unused produce and help those in need in the state,” said Secretary Fisher. “It is not enough to feed the hungry, but gleaning organizations nevertheless play a vital role in ensuring they have access to healthy and wholesome food, as well.”
FAH serves 7,000 people weekly during the growing season through 70 organizations, including soup kitchens, food pantries and the state’s food banks. Farmers from all over the state participate by donating their surplus produce or allowing volunteers to come onto their farms and glean – or pick -- excess produce. In 2011, they received more than one million pounds of fruits and vegetables from farmers, food retailers and distributors.
Kristina Guttadora, Farmers Against Hunger produce collection and distribution coordinator, said in 2012 FAH added 10 new farms and had more than 40 gleanings, an increase over the previous year. Farmers Against Hunger will use the grant money for transportation and administrative costs to deliver more produce.
“The state gleaning grant is extremely important to Farmers Against Hunger as it is the major source of funding for our program,” said Guttadora. “We are so grateful for this support. This grant enables us to not only operate but expand by adding an additional truck so that we can increase our collections and gleanings and continue accepting new recipient groups. Every pound of produce collected is another meal on the table for those in need.”
Gleaning Support Program grants must be used by the gleaning organizations for collection, distribution and administrative costs. The groups must distribute the gleaned New Jersey grown produce or non-farm nutrient dense rescued food gleaned from non-farm sources outside of the growing season only to New Jersey residents.
The funding for the grants comes from the State Food Purchase Program, for which Governor Christie allocated $6.8 million dollar this year to be distributed quarterly to the state’s six food banks to purchase healthy food, with a high priority on buying locally grown produce from New Jersey farmers.