The Collaborative for Fresh Produce (Collaborative) is a new non-profit organization that is partnering with commercial farmers and food banks in an effort to fight hunger by fighting food waste.
The organization says one in eight people struggles with hunger in America and yet 20 billion pounds of edible produce are left in the fields to rot or wasted each year. “The good news is that we grow plenty of food in America,” said Simon Powell, president and CEO of the Collaborative for Fresh Produce. “We recognized the travesty in this situation and created a sustainable model to gather and distribute edible produce, that otherwise would have been discarded, and put it into the hands of those struggling with hunger.”
The Collaborative for Fresh Produce said it uses state-of-the-art technology and optimizes supply-chain logistics which they say offers growers, shippers and wholesalers an outlet to address large-scale quantities of surplus produce and to provide a low-cost option to food banks as they source fresh produce for their communities. The Collaborative funds its operations through a 1 cent per pound processing fee paid by food banks.
“Our industry has an ongoing need to address imperfect and surplus produce as part of its business strategy,” said Dante Galeazzi, president of the Texas International Produce Association and board member of the Collaborative. “Offering this produce to the Collaborative is an ideal outlet to address this issue. Disposal, or dumping, costs can be eliminated and farmers can help fight hunger in the process. It’s a win/win for everyone.”
In fiscal year 2019, the Collaborative for Fresh Produce anticipates distributing approximately 60 million pounds of fresh produce donated by more than 65 growers and shippers from across the country, mainly located in California and Texas. This produce will then be accessed by more than 25 food banks in a six-state region: Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas. These food banks supply hundreds of non-profit agencies and pantries serving thousands of people struggling with hunger in their communities.
The goal of the Collaborative for Fresh Produce is to distribute more than 150 million pounds of fresh produce annually to the majority of our nation’s 200 food banks.
“The Collaborative for Fresh Produce is poised to make a radical change in our nation’s hunger-relief system,” said Dan’I Mackey Almy, president of DMA Solutions and board member of the Collaborative. “Solving hunger with better access to fresh produce will take far more than the occasional donation from a well-meaning donor. It’s going to take our entire agriculture community systematically changing the way it addresses imperfect and surplus produce.”
To learn more about how to donate fresh produce to the Collaborative, contact Dale Long, executive vice president of the Collaborative for Fresh Produce at firstname.lastname@example.org or 469-858-6190.
Simon Powell and Dale Long will be in attendance at Viva Fresh Produce Expo, the Texas International Produce Association’s annual conference, from April 25-27, 2019 in San Antonio, TX.