According to Driscoll president Soren Bjorn, 10-15% of the berry producer's crop will "end up in the ditch" if the government doesn't provide funding to donate to food banks. Bjorn said that the ideal place for excess goods to go is to food banks, but that the company won't have money to pay for labor and transport without government aid.
Food banks are being overwhelmed as unemployment rates skyrocket while farmers across the country are being forced to destroy their goods. Pandemic-related shutdowns of travel, restaurants, and commercial campuses, have left many producers with more goods than they can sell.
Historic unemployment rates are driving out-of-work Americans to food banks in numbers unheard of in recent years. But as grocery stores and food banks face massive shortages across the country, farmers are being forced to destroy the goods they worked so hard to produce, like milk and vegetables. Suppliers like Driscoll's normally sell a portion of what they produce to exports, restaurants, and campuses, but pandemic-related closures have left that crop with nowhere to go.
The obvious answer is to redirect the goods meant for closed businesses to consumers and those in need. But it's just not that simple — the cost of harvesting and transporting those goods is still an obstacle between field and food bank.
Bjorn told Business Insider that next month, the berry producer anticipates hiring 10,000 seasonal field workers in California to harvest its summer berry crop. He would like 10-15% of this crop to go to food banks. However, the money to pay these workers and transport those goods has to come from somewhere, and food banks are already strapped for funding.