Federal-State Market Improvement Program Grant Report


The California Association of Food Banks (CAFB)
Sue Sigler
1624 Franklin Street, Suite 722 | Oakland, CA 94612
Phone: 916-456-8214    Fax:  916-456-8214
email: info@cafoodbanks.org
Web page: www.cafoodbanks.org

About Our Collaborative Project: In February, 2006, the California Association of Food Banks (CAFB) and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) proposed a $301,000 project to identify cull commodities with unrealized revenue, and develop an infrastructure to bring that product to people in need via California food banks and their local agencies. USDA-FSMIP granted $90,000 to support the project. The remaining $201,000 was from in-kind contributions.

The project’s long-term benefits include expanding the market for specialty crops by exposing an emerging consumer base to fresh fruits and vegetables at no cost to the consumer. As that audience matures in economic capabilities, specialty crop market share will increase. The immediate benefit is an increased revenue stream to packers/growers by purchases made on behalf of the needy by CAFB and its over 45 member food banks.

At the time the original grant was prepared, several obstacles to expand the Farm to Family program were identified, including: 1) identifying appropriate commodities and pricing, 2) identifying and developing relationships with packers, 3) addressing physical barriers at packing facilities, 4) tackling transportation logistics, and 5) increasing food banks’ capacity to distribute fresh produce.

Below are links to CAFB FSMIP Deliverables:

Farm to Family Out The Door: A guide to produce distributions at California Food Banks

Farm to Family Grower and Packer Video

Farm to Family Food Bank Video

FSMIP Final Report

Appendix A, Appendix B, Appendix C, Appendix D, Appendix E, Appendix F, Appendix G, Appendix H

The California Association of Food Banks (CAFB), with the support of FSMIP funds, was able to increase the number of crops distributed via the Farm to Family program from 25 to 47 between 2006 and 2008, more than double the number of packers participating in the program between 2006 and 2008, and increase the amount of fresh produce distributed from 11.5 million pounds in the first eight months of 2006 to 40.5 million pounds in the first eight months of 2008. As a result, produce purchases by CAFB increased from $700,000 in 2006 to $1.9 million in the first eight months of 2008.

Broadening the reach of the Farm to Family program has served the dual purpose of expanding future markets for specialty crops by exposing low-income consumers to fresh fruits and vegetables while boosting the nutritional intake of low-income Californians.

The success of this project was due to the efforts of growers and packers, food banks and their community agencies and Feeding America (formerly America’s Second Harvest), which have provided subsidies for the purchase of produce, the Network for a Healthy California, and the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

About CAFB: CAFB is a membership association of California’s food banks and food distribution organizations. CAFB focus areas include influencing public policy, increasing the visibility of food banking, developing food bank capacity, and sharing resources.  CAFB activities include supporting food stamp and food bank state and federal legislation, providing food bank trainings and technical assistance, and educating the general public about the role of food banks in their community.