Farm to Food Bank Program
The Farm to Food Bank Program seeks to connect food banks with farms to purchase products like fruits, vegetables, cheese, milk, meat, and eggs directly from farmers. This is a unique opportunity to identify and build a long-term market and infrastructure for Illinois farmers and Illinois food banks.
However, to build a viable system, we need to know what kind of infrastructure needs are out there. What kind of crops are available, are farmers interested, and what are the real costs? We need to hear it directly from the farmers because they are going to be able to give us the best perspective.
If your farm would like to learn more about how you can sell food directly to food banks in the Feeding Illinois network, send us a message using the form below and we’ll get you connected.
The Farm to Food Bank Program overarching goal is to build a long lasting, sustainable, state-funded program that would create a relationship of farms working directly with food banks to increase food access, economic dollars within the state, profitability for Illinois farmers, community revitalization and reduce food waste.
- Collection of data on surplus food in Illinois
- Pilot and identify strategies and costs
- Evaluate logistical opportunities and challenges
- Identify best strategies with product packaging
- Provide farmers with additional end markets for commodities
- Expand the supply of fresh food to food banks
- Increase food security
- Reduce food waste
- Keep products, food, and dollars in Illinois
- Create a roadmap for a statewide farm to food bank program
What Are We Buying?
We are looking for fruit, vegetables, cheese, milk, meat, eggs, and more. We would like your excess product and/or seconds. Seconds are produce items that are cosmetically imperfect in shape, size, or uniformity or are too ripe to meet the shelf life needs of your market. Seconds are also called No. 2 grade or commercial grade. Produce that is rotten, unsafe, dehydrated or near the end of its shelf life is not a second and it should not be sold.
Can I Donate?
Yes, we will continue to take donations. Any food product that doesn’t qualify as seconds can be donated to the food pantry and will still qualify for a tax exemption. To learn more about tax exemptions, click the link below.