Wednesday, April 23, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Community Harvest Day celebrates success of Food Bank Farmers program

BikePoweredVeggieWasherW

A bicycle-powered vegetable washer will be in action Saturday morning during the "Big Community Harvest Day" at Sloughside Farm on County Road 31 northwest of Davis. Courtesy photo

Local residents are invited to join a “Big Community Harvest Day” on Saturday with the Food Bank Farmers as part of the Yolo Farm to Every Fork event series.

Individuals, organizations and schools seeking potential service projects are invited to learn and talk with farmers about how local agriculture is helping with the issue of hunger in Yolo County.

The harvest day will take place from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday at Sloughside Farm, County Road 31, a half-mile west of County Road 95 between Davis and Winters.

Food Bank Farmers is a new program in Yolo County that took an unused piece of farmland and turned it into a food source for clients of the Yolo Food Bank, particularly for its Kids Farmers Market. That program sets up markets at schools across Yolo County, sending children home with 10 pounds of produce for their families.

Food Bank Farmers aims to provide about 10,000 pounds of produce to the Food Bank in its four-month growing season this year. Volunteers have logged 450 hours to date and the farm can donate so much produce because 90 percent of the labor also is donated.

From 8 to 10 a.m., visitors can observe current volunteers harvest, sort and wash vegetables. All produce is donated to the Yolo Food Bank. Guests also can see the farm’s bicycle-powered vegetable washer in action.

At 10 a.m., Yolo County Supervisor Don Saylor will lead a discussion with the farmer behind the Food Bank Farmers project, Shane Tucker. The Yolo Food Bank’s executive director, Kevin Sanchez, will talk about hunger in our county and how the Food Bank Farmers program is making an impact on the Food Bank’s donations.

Mary Kimball, executive director of the Center for Land-Based Learning, will speak about how her organization gave critical farming advice to the project and how Food Bank Farmers employed a student from Center for Land-Based Learning’s California Farm Academy program to manage the farm.

“In the course of researching ways that we could use this land to benefit the community, we learned that almost 18 percent of Yolo County’s population is food-insecure,” meaning they do not know where there next meal is coming from, Tucker said. “We were disturbed that there was such a large need for healthy, nutritious food right here in Yolo County, despite the fact that Yolo County is one of the leading agricultural counties in California.

“This was a wake-up call for us as to how our land could make a big difference in our community.”

Added Saylor, “Food Bank Farmers is an innovative program that can be replicated in other parts of our county and state to combat hunger. This project is an inspirational example of how a community working together with existing resources can help its most vulnerable citizens through tough times.”

Sanchez said the producer generated by Food Bank Farmers has made it possible to offer the Kids Farmers Market program at four schools in Yolo County.

“Food from this farm is helping our clients get fresh produce in their daily diets,” he said.

For more information, visit foodbankfarmers.org.

Special to The Enterprise

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