Food banks are stocked with unhealthy, processed foods
When you are hungry, you can’t afford to be picky. But eating food that will bring health problems only converts one problem into another. Unfortunately, anyone who spends even an hour bagging deliveries for their local food bank quickly realizes that much of the “food” is highly processed and unhealthy. The problem is best illustrated by a recent debate over whether the makers of Little Debbie snacks should donate the contents of a tipped delivery truck to the Oregon Food Bank, instead of discarding the spilled boxes. Supporters said it was a waste to throw away so much food that could go to the hungry, while others said it could hardly be characterized as food.
Solution: take over an abandoned farm and grow your own produce
After sitting unused for decades, a 40-acre farm plot was given to the San Antonio Food Bank to provide a ready source of fresh fruits and vegetables. So far, 25 acres of the property have been put to use, producing thousands of pounds of cabbage, artichokes, carrots, and other vegetables, along with fruit and herbs from the orchard and garden. The farm relies on a large crew of volunteers to plant, weed, and pick over 63,000 pounds of produce every year, but the project has transformed the diets of thousands. In 2014, 40 percent of the food distributed by the food bank was fresh produce.
In addition to stocking the shelves of the food bank, produce from the farm is used for cooking classes, and is also given to the local Boys and Girls clubs and a nearby farmer’s market.
- San Antonio Express-News | Sow, Grow, Savor: Food Bank Garden