Farmers Against Hunger

January 31, 2014  • 

Farmers Against Hunger (FAH), a program of the New Jersey Agricultural Society, was started in 1996 as a way to enable farmers throughout the state of New Jersey to contribute their extra produce to those in need.

Prior to the establishment of Farmers Against Hunger, a few farmers tried to donate produce to their local food bank or food pantries, but transportation was always a problem, as when are in the midst of growing and harvesting, there is little time to have employees truck produce to a non-paying destination. And, for the most part, the food banks or pantries did not have vans, trucks or drivers to go and get the produce at a moment’s notice. With the financial support of the Bonner Foundation to purchase their first truck, Farmers Against Hunger was founded.

Today, Farmers Against Hunger recovers an average of 1.3 million pounds of fresh produce and breads annually and delivers this food to over 70 community organizations. Through the years, over 50 local New Jersey farms have donated to Farmers Against Hunger, and groceries and suppliers such as Wakefern, Wegmans, Panera, Donios and Colavita also donate and help continue operations in the non-harvest season as well. All of this produce is donated free of charge to food pantries, soup kitchens and state food banks to help supplement their shelves with fresh fruits and vegetables. The organization also collaborates with schools, universities, local businesses and community groups to offer volunteer opportunities and educational programs.

“Some farmers donate their unsold produce outright and others allow us to bring volunteers to the fields to help harvest,” says New Jersey Agricultural Society Executive Director Kristina Guttadora. “At U-Pick apple farms, one apple may be picked by the customer, and three may drop to the ground. Farmers Against Hunger comes in to glean and recover this food. Community members who have never seen how sweet potatoes grow are given the opportunity to help harvest, while helping their neighbors in need. Children who may have never eaten sweet corn are given their first taste. Elderly recipients swap eggplant recipes at our distribution sites and share in the excitement of receiving fresh greens.”

Visit the Farmers Against Hunger website to learn how New Jersey farmers are ensuring that fresh, healthy produce is available to all.