Second Harvest Foodbank fights hunger with Farm to Foodbank Initiative

Ten-percent of the U.S. population struggles to put food on the table.
Published: Nov. 3, 2022 at 6:47 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin will formally launch the Farm to Foodbank Initiative in January to fight food insecurity in Southern Wisconsin.

Crossroads Community Farm co-owner Cassie Wyss said locally harvested fresh produce is not always an option for people because it’s too expensive.

”Historically it’s been that people from the pantry sometimes get the leftovers and donations and that’s wonderful and beautiful and great but what we’re doing is saying is we should do more than that,” Wyss said.

Wyss’ farm sells fresh produce to Second Harvest Foodbank as a part of their initiative to provide healthy and high quality food to individuals struggling to make ends meet.

“It’s a more dignified way to receive assistance versus a wilting head of lettuce or puckered zucchini that nobody else wanted,” Wyss said.

The initiative has used funding from government COVID-19 relief through the Dane County Executive’s Office, but plans to continue even as pandemic funds could dissipate through partnering with more farmers. Second Harvest has sourced locally grown food and produce in Dane County, then provides that food to partner agencies. Second Harvest is continuing the program and hopes to go beyond Dane County.

”We don’t want it to be a transactional relationship where we’re just buying and say, ‘See you later,’'’ Second Harvest food resources manager Ian Steele said. “We really do want communication and for it to be a collaborative process.”

Wyss hopes to get the word out to other local farmers.

”If we can make it easier for people to take one little thing off of their plate of stress and put something really delicious on their plat of nourishment lets do it!,” Wyss said.

In the beginning of the pandemic, Wyss said restaurants and grocery stores were not purchasing their produce and Second Harvest has become Crossroads’ biggest wholesale customer.

While the Farm to Foodbank Initiative has been in-development since the pandemic, Steele said it officially launches in January 2023.

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