Growing Vegetables for a Food Bank

Growing vegetables for a food bank is different than growing vegetables for anyone else, especially in regards to variety and quantity. Here is how we think about growing for the food bank:

  • Figure out what kind of vegetables the food bank clients want.
  • You can do a survey, a community meeting, or just ask the food bank staff what clients tend to select first.
  • Be sensitive to the cultures of the people that frequent the food bank. As much as possible, grow things that the majority of clients recognize and know how to cook.
  • Quantity does matter to a food bank. Donating small amounts of several different vegetables is less useful than 20 pounds of one type.
  • Variety is important, though, so try to grow vegetables food banks can’t get through other sources of food.

  • Time your harvests with the food bank’s distribution schedule. Keep in mind that they’ll need time to weigh, bag and set up the produce before distribution.
  • Make sure you have a mode of transportation – don’t leave it up to chance whether a volunteer with a car shows up that day.
  • We send the food bank a poundage report at the end of every month listing how much we donated. This saves them the work of weighing the produce, but they can still use the numbers for reporting.
  • You should be responsible for recording the pounds you donate. The food bank is likely too busy to have that kind of capacity for record-keeping.

 


The Seattle Community Farm (SCF) has many goals in the community: getting fresh produce to those who struggle to afford it, educating children and adults about growing and cooking their own food, and connecting people across cultural and linguistic barriers to garden together. 

 

 

 

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