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CDFA Secretary Karen Ross Joins CAFB to Kick Off Farm to Food Bank Month

December 11, 2014

December is Farm to Food Bank Month – and this year CAFB helped kicked off the month with a press conference on December 3 that included a proclamation from Governor Jerry Brown along with a bounty of farm donations that included apples, oranges, rice, nuts, turkeys, and even 380,000 eggs.

Farm to Food Bank Month was created to shine a spotlight on the needs of food banks and the people we serve. The month also honors the California farmers who contribute to Farm to Family, the statewide program operated by the California Association of Food Banks (CAFB) that connects surplus produce to people in need.

The event brought together CAFB and California Secretary of Agriculture Karen Ross to promote our shared goal to increase farm donations to 200 million pounds per year. Secretary Ross presented a signed proclamation from Governor Jerry Brown urging Californians to “recognize the contributions of California’s agricultural community, as well as the food banks and partner organizations they work with to provide nourishment to the most vulnerable among us.”

Craig McNamara, President of California State Board of Food and Agriculture, pledged to donate the yield from an acre of his organic walnut farm and encouraged other farmers to do the same. California Grown promoted their #CAGrown campaign: for every picture posted to social media with the hashtag “#CAGrown,” California Grown will donate a pound of produce to California food banks.

Last year, CAFB’s Farm to Family program distributed 140 million pounds of donated fresh produce through our network of over 40 food banks. This year’s totals will likely be even higher — an incredible testament to the generosity of California farmers as they continue to give despite facing one of the worst droughts in recent history.

The Farm to Food Bank event was hosted by CAFB member Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara & San Mateo, which arranged for the striking display of donated produce.

With widespread support coming from both the public and private sectors and the recent addition of a half million dollar grant from the Walmart Foundation to expand the program, CAFB is confident that Farm to Family will build on the incredible momentum of the past few years and achieve our ambitious goal of bringing 200 million pounds of fresh produce to Californians in need.

For more information on how you can help Farm to Family grow or to make a product donation or pledge, please contact Steve Linkhart, Director of Farm to Family, at stevelinkhart@cafoodbanks.org or (510) 350-9916.

Read more about this event in CDFA’s “Planting Seeds” blog >>

Read more in the Turlock Journal >>

Read a letter to farmers penned by Kathy Jackson, CEO of SHFB of Santa Clara and San Mateo >>

More photos from the event:

Karen Ross, California Secretary of Agriculture, prepares to address the media before the day’s events.

Some of the eggs, oranges, and apples that were donated for the kickoff event.

Kathy Jackson, CEO, Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo, welcomes attendees to her food bank.

Staff from Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo show off some of their veggie-themed bracelets provided by the Veggie Republic. Each bracelet sold will provide five pounds of fresh produce to food banks!

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