Food pantries play a vital role in promoting food security among vulnerable populations but face challenges in providing fresh, nutrient-rich produce. Farm to Food Pantry allows emergency food providers to purchase fruits and vegetables directly from local farms, to both improve the availability of healthy foods at food pantries and strengthen local food economies. This program ultimately benefits the health of our communities at large, since the resulting purchasing contracts help participating growers to benefit from the guaranteed payment and wholesale experience.
Now in its third year as a pilot program, Farm to Food Pantry effectively doubled in size and scope to collaborate with 54 growers and 12 lead agencies (comprising a mix of State of WA contractors, sub-contractors and sub-sites) that distribute food to 112 food pantries and meal sites, spanning across 15 counties.
“The fact that we've had this program in our area for the last three years has fundamentally changed my approach to my food systems work, trying to increase agricultural production as well as increase access and consumption of local produce. As a pilot project we've gotten enough data about how a sustained program could work to spot some patterns and trends and I feel like I have a much clearer path forward than I had before the program.”
-Nils Johnson, Providence NEW Hunger Coalition