Grow and Give. A simple concept at the local farmers market
“We go around and we collect excess produce that farmers donate to us,” said Community Food Access Coordinator with the High Desert Food and Farm Alliance Abigail Gustke. “So, it is food that they either don’t want to look resale or that might go to waste. So, we kind of work to combat food waste and help support out local hunger relief agencies.”
The program put on by the High Desert Food and Farm Alliance has been going strong for 10 years.
This year, Pacific Power provided grants to Grow and Give to help build the program.
“It provides affordable, health, locally grown food to our community members,” Original Business Manager with Pacific Power Matt Chancellor.
Towards the end of the farmers market in Downtown Bend, people within the program go around to vendors and ask if they would like to donate and when it’s closing time. The donation bins get filled, put in the truck and shipped out.
“We work to transport it to a fridge where it stays overnight and then we work with NeighborImpact, which is located in Redmond, and they are kind of a food hub distributer to local food banks in Central Oregon,” said Gustke.
The food then gets distributed to 55 different food banks around Deschutes, Jefferson and Crook counties.
Already this year, Grow and Give has collected more than 4,000 pounds of produce.
“We’re looking for our goal of 15,000 pounds for the year and excited for August and what it has to come,” said Gustke.
Farmers Market donations only go on in the summer. In the spring and fall, Grow and Give harvests excess food from farmer’s fields.