Harvest for All program provides locally grown crops to food banks
By TIM HEARDEN
RED BLUFF, Calif. -- Kari Dodd had a great feeling about being among the young farmers and ranchers from California who donated more than 10 million pounds of food to needy families last year.
"It's fantastic -- there's no other way to put it," said Dodd, 27, a local Farm Bureau office manager who raises meat goats east of here. "It's such a good feeling, but also knowing that you're helping the communities and helping everyone with the resources that we have, it's great to give back."
Dodd and others from around the state were taking part in the American Farm Bureau Federation's nationwide Harvest for All program, which provides locally grown food to food banks.
Throughout the year, regional Young Farmers and Ranchers organizations took part in gleaning and collection activities, sometimes following harvest crews through fields to gather fresh fruits and vegetables to be donated, the California Farm Bureau Federation reported.
Farmers and ranchers also donate money and volunteer hours to the program, which has provided more than 83 million meals since it was launched in 2003 as a partnership between the AFBF and the hunger-relief organization Feeding America.
California's 10,143,570-pound contribution led the nation last year as farm and ranch families raised a record $971,235 and donated a record of more than 24 million pounds of food nationwide, according to the AFBF. In addition, farmers and ranchers gave 11,333 volunteer hours to anti-hunger groups in 2012.
The Illinois Farm Bureau raised the most money -- $786,949 -- while the Michigan Farm Bureau tallied the most volunteer hours at 6,410. Each of the three state organizations were given a $1,500 grant by Chevrolet-GM to donate to a food bank of their choice, the AFBF reported in a news release.
Chevrolet-GM also donated $1,000 each to three state organizations that finished second in their respective categories. Those were the New York Farm Bureau for donating nearly 8.6 million pounds of food, the Michigan Farm Bureau for raising $64,080, and the Illinois Farm Bureau for registering 2,006 volunteer hours.
The state organizations were honored during the AFBF's Young Farmers and Ranchers conference in Phoenix earlier this month.
California Farm Bureau Federation: www.cfbf.com
American Farm Bureau Federation: www.fb.org