FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Agriculture Secretary Honors Generous Produce Farmers
Secretary Redding and others praise farmers who help fight food insecurity
HARRISBURG, Pa. — Aug. 11, 2017: August is Pennsylvania Produce Month, and there’s no better time to not only call attention to the face of hunger in the commonwealth, but also to thank those who help fight food insecurity by giving back.
A special event was held on Wednesday, Aug. 9, at the Mt. Lebanon Lion’s Club Farmers’ Market housed at the Mt. Lebanon United Lutheran Church in Pittsburgh to do just that. Sponsored by Feeding Pennsylvania, the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and the Pennsylvania Vegetable Marketing and Research Program, the event featured Jonathan Dillner from Dillner Family Farm, who has been working with the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank since 2004.
“You can’t have a charitable food system without a food system that is charitable,” noted Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding.
The goals for this event were to highlight the scope of need in Pennsylvania and honor those making a difference. Jane Clements-Smith, Feeding Pennsylvania’s executive director, explained that Feeding Pennsylvania’s mission is to increase awareness around hunger and food insecurity across the commonwealth while also increasing access to healthy and nutritious food for all Pennsylvanians in need.
“Our food banks serve nearly two million food insecure individuals annually, half a million of whom are children,” she added. “The face of hunger in Pennsylvania includes the working families deciding between paying bills and buying food, the seniors deciding between buying medication and having a meal and the children sitting in classrooms around the commonwealth who cannot concentrate because their stomachs are growling.”
Local farmers’ generosity validates food banks’ missions to source fresh, local foods for community members in need. Every donation counts: the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank notes farms have donated more than 100,000 pounds of produce.
Lisa Scales, president and CEO of the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, was also present at the event. She noted that the following farmers in western Pennsylvania have been generous contributors to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank:
- Apple Castle LLC, 66,121 pounds
- Brenckle’s Organic Farm & Greenhouse, 10,589 pounds
- Dawson’s Orchards, Inc., 160,553 pounds
- Dillner Family Farms, LLC, 28,085 pounds
- Greenawalt Farms, 17,404 pounds
- Harvest Valley Farms, 35,707 pounds
- Hills of Home Farms, Inc., 98,550 pounds
- Laurel Vista Farms, 42,265 pounds
- Trax Farms, 38,360 pounds
- Triple B Farms, 30,562 pounds
- Wexford Farms, 187,440 pounds
The Dillner Family Farm is an example of generosity at work. It welcomes volunteers to glean produce from the fields and participates in the Neighborhood Assistance Program. This means the Food Bank can offer the farm tax credits to facilitate donations of nutritious food. In 2016, the Dillner Family Farm donated 34,459 pounds of food to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank—the equivalent to 28,715 meals for those in need.
“It’s incredibly gratifying to see dozens of volunteers arrive at our farm to glean food,” said farm manager Jonathan Dillner.
The event included recognition for farmers and community helpers. Charity starts there; without their donations and support, there is nothing to give to those in need. Secretary Redding honored them with tokens of appreciation.
William Troxell, Pennsylvania Vegetable Marketing and Research Program executive secretary, noted that 2017 marks 12 years the organization has celebrated August as Pennsylvania Produce Month.
“More than 3,500 growers across the state produce vegetables on over 49,000 acres—and August is the peak of our season,” Troxell added. “The abundant supply of Pennsylvania vegetables during August affords our growers an opportunity to give some of their surplus supplies of fresh, nutritious and delicious Pennsylvania vegetables back to the community—in particular, to those who are in need. We are incredibly proud of their efforts.”
The greater Pittsburgh area is just one example of what’s happening throughout Pennsylvania. Those in need may contact a local food bank for assistance.
The Pennsylvania Vegetable Marketing and Research Program is a statewide marketing order established by a grower referendum, governed by a grower board and funded by grower assessments. The Program’s sole purpose is to serve the vegetable growers of Pennsylvania by promoting Pennsylvania-grown vegetables and funding practical vegetable production research.
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