Seed to Table
Tristan Wallack, our Senior Director of Programming and Operations, shares information about a new pilot program at America’s Grow-a-Row.
Earlier this year one of our regular volunteers from a local New Jersey company, Techwave, asked us an interesting question. Did we have any connections to Houston? He and his team loved helping us out at the farm and wondered if they could somehow tie their experience in with their co-workers out of their Houston office. And so an idea was born. We decided to pilot a program called Seed to Table.
Before I talk about the program, I want to share a little bit about myself to give some context. Prior to joining America’s Grow-a-Row (AGAR), I worked at New Jersey’s largest Feeding America food bank as the Director of Food Sourcing & Distribution. Part of my department’s job was to find donated food for the organization, and there was always a particular focus on sourcing fresh produce due to its nutritional value. That is how I got to know Chip, AGAR’s President & Founder. Over the years AGAR has been one of the food bank’s largest produce donors, providing as much as 1 million pounds per year. The food bank distributes the fresh produce to partner agencies, including food pantries, soup kitchens, and other hunger relief organizations throughout New Jersey.
Now let’s get back to Seed to Table. AGAR is a very unique hunger relief organization and, in fact, may be one of a kind in that it is the very start of the food supply chain. With the Seed to Table program, we are engaging partners to cover the entire distribution process from our farm to the end user. This is how it works. Our volunteer and his co-workers at Techwave helped plant some cabbage this summer. They will be coming back again in the fall to help harvest that cabbage. That cabbage will be packaged and then sent on a refrigerated trailer to the local Feeding America food bank in Houston, in this case the Houston Food Bank. Techwave employees in Houston will be playing a major role in distributing the cabbage to the agencies that the Houston Food Bank serves. Techwave will be covering all costs, including seed, time to manage the crop, packaging, and transportation. And what is exciting about this program is that it is not limited to corporations. Any organization or group that has multiple locations around the country can participate.
It is our mission at AGAR to provide fresh, healthy produce to those in need. And we are very excited about the new opportunities that our Seed to Table program will provide to do just that. If you would like to learn more, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.