Providence, RI — Farm Fresh Rhode Island and Hope’s Harvest are proud to announce that as of June 2022, Hope’s Harvest is officially the home for all hunger relief programming at Farm Fresh RI.
Hunger in Rhode Island is a significant problem that has only increased in severity and scope in recent years. At the same time, local food producers in the state have seen increased demand, but also volatility in markets and challenges due to erratic weather patterns, shifts in purchasing at a national scale, and other national and global forces.
Farm Fresh RI, a nonprofit that’s been working to strengthen the local food system since 2004, has been a champion for local farmers/producers and an infrastructural driver of a re-localizing food system over the past 18 years. Hope’s Harvest, a relative newcomer, has filled an important niche in the RI food system by connecting farmers to hunger relief agencies, promoting food security and non-traditional market access to the emergency food system.
Hope’s Harvest has been an independent but fiscally sponsored program of Farm Fresh RI since 2018. This sponsorship enabled Hope’s Harvest to accept donations and grants under the Farm Fresh 501c3 nonprofit status. Farm Fresh mentored growth at Hope’s Harvest and provided infrastructure support, like trucks and cold storage, as well as a place to call home when the Hope’s Harvest team parked their trucks and came in from the field.
“As our program grew, it became apparent that combining Hope’s Harvest and Farm Fresh models and infrastructure would best leverage our assets and public/private partnerships,” explains Hope’s Harvest Founder and Director Eva Agudelo. “Together we can create targeted solutions for both food insecurity and increasingly volatile markets for farmers. We’re excited about all of the collaborations to come — delivering the highest quality of locally grown food to hunger relief agencies and alleviating food insecurity in Rhode Island.”
What does this change mean for Hope’s Harvest?
By joining Farm Fresh RI’s infrastructure, Hope’s Harvest is building capacity to deliver local gleaned produce to an additional 20 hunger relief agencies via Farm Fresh’s existing Market Mobile local food ordering service. The Hope’s Harvest team will also be administering the Senior Farmer Market Nutrition program and the Local Food Purchasing Assistance program in partnership with the RI Department of Environmental Management.
What does it mean for Hope’s Harvest gleaning volunteers?
Out in the fields, the Hope’s Harvest team still aims to glean as much food this year as ever! They plan to harvest with even more local farms, and encourage the community to join them out in the fields this season. Learn more about opportunities to volunteer with Hope’s Harvest: www.farmfreshri.org/hopesharvest.
At a Glance: Hope’s Harvest for Hunger Relief at Farm Fresh RI
The Hope’s Harvest program at Farm Fresh RI will include:
— Recruiting and mobilizing volunteers to recover surplus food from farms for donation to hunger relief agencies.
DIRECT PURCHASING FOR HUNGER RELIEF
— Surplus Purchasing: Direct purchasing of surplus farm produce for distribution to hunger relief agencies and community partners.
— Contracts for Hunger Relief: Negotiating and administering contracts with growers to ensure a steady supply of fresh, nutritious produce for the emergency food system at competitive wholesale rates.
— Farm to Pantry via Market Mobile: A streamlined system and subsidized purchasing for community partners to order locally grown products for their guests.
SENIOR FARMERS MARKET NUTRITION PROGRAM
— Source and pack locally grown produce to meet the needs of older adults throughout RI in partnership with the RI Department of Environmental Management.
ADVOCACY AND PARTNERSHIPS
— Working with strategic partners in the nonprofit and government sectors to ensure ongoing support for these initiatives as a commitment to supporting public infrastructure for healthy food access.
About Farm Fresh Rhode Island
Farm Fresh Rhode Island is a 501c3 nonprofit organization founded in 2004. The organization’s mission is to grow a local food system that values the environment, health and quality of life of New England’s farmers and eaters. Part incubator, part activator, Farm Fresh offers a wide array of access, education, and distribution programs aimed at building healthier communities, increasing access to fresh food, strengthening community-based businesses, and improving the impact of food production and distribution on the environment. For more information, visit www.farmfreshri.org.
About Hope’s Harvest
Hope’s Harvest mobilizes volunteers to harvest surplus produce from local farms, contracts with growers, and pays for surplus produce — all for distribution to hunger relief agencies throughout RI. This creates economic opportunities for farms to meet emergency food system needs, increases access to fresh food, and improves our community’s resilience. For more information, visit www.farmfreshri.org/hopesharvest.
Rebecca C. Seggel
Director of Communications
Farm Fresh Rhode Island
Hope’s Harvest Director
Farm Fresh Rhode Island