Since the summer of 2011, The Idaho Foodbank has put special emphasis on finding large and consistent supplies of fresh produce, meat and commodities produced right here in Idaho to meet the ever-increasing demand for emergency food assistance.
The agricultural community has responded generously. Fresh onions and potatoes have become a regular part of our food supply, as have split peas and beef.
We saw an excellent example of that when Richard Durrant, owner of Big D Farms in Meridian, pulled up to our Boise warehouse with 4,600 pounds of pinto beans to donate.
The two one-ton sacks will be broken down by volunteers into more manageable five-pound bags. Richard donated the 600 pounds in the smaller bags specifically for our Cooking Matters classes.
This is typical of how Idaho farmers react when we talk to them about hunger in our state. If you ask them why they do what they do, the answer will most certainly be about feeding people.
With more than 100 agriculture associations, organizations and commissions in our state, there is tremendous potential to engage the industry in ways they can donate to The Idaho Foodbank as part of their business models. There is a win-win in the kind of relationship that both feeds people and raises awareness about the nutritious products grown in our state. By joining forces with the Foodbank, these industry groups can promote the nutritious variety of products grown right here in Idaho and farmers and ranchers do what they do best: feed people.
In 2012, Idaho-grown commodities accounted for approximately 5% of what we distributed through our network of more than 220 partner pantries, community kitchens and mobile pantries. And we believe we have only scratched the surface of how the Foodbank and the agriculture community can work together for mutual benefit.
If you have some ideas about how you can help, contact Jenifer Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 208-577-2691.