Don Brown, our Food Sourcing field representative, learned that global seed company Seminis was growing onions as part of their seed development process. The resulting crop of top quality onions was disposed of as animal feed. After several discussions, Seminis made the decision to donate the onions; but there was a hitch. The product was collected in large wood field totes, which the company wanted back. Returning those totes would require a considerable amount of money for transportation. There had to be a better way.
Necessity is the mother of invention, as they say. Don worked with Seminis to fabricate a tote filler stand out of scrap metal. The stand allows onions to be dumped from the wood totes into fabric totes for easy distribution. Originally designed for bulk whey powder, the tote bags – a donation from Glambia – proved ideal for the task with only minor modifications saving the Foodbank a $14.00 per bag conversion fee. Recently, the Foodbank shared some of the onions with the Portland Food Bank through a regional collaboration. They declared the onions to be the best they had ever received.
Next season the Seminis relationship could yield up to 250,000 pounds of onions. That’s food that will go to families instead of waste due to a great idea and a growing relationship with Idaho’s agricultural community. Harvest is but once a year, but the hard work goes on all year long.
For fresh news from the field be sure to check out Don Brown’s Harvest Report at www.idahofoodbank.org/harvestreport