After the Harvest Board President Kelly Schwalbe (pictured here with wife Kathleen Fenton) is a farm boy through and through.
He grew up on a southern Iowa farm, earned a BS in agricultural journalism and is now a partner in Sage Communications, providing marketing for agricultural and other clients. And he still keeps a hand in his family’s 600-acre corn, soybean and commercial cow-calf operation as well as his own Iowa farm.
“I’ve been involved in the agricultural industry pretty much all of my life,” Kelly said. “I’ve seen the tremendous productivity of our farmers and producers out there and I’ve also seen the huge amount of crops in produce that are wasted every year as well.”
So when Kelly heard about ATH’s mission, it resonated with him. “This is an excellent way for those in the Kansas City area to work with local produce farmers to help glean those fields, not letting that good food go to waste, but instead getting it to the many food insecure families in our area.”
Kelly laments the fact that Americans are throwing away quality food every day. He said, “You see the volume of fruits and vegetables produced on some of these farms and so much of it, if it doesn’t meet certain high quality standards, is plowed under or taken to the landfills. It kind of breaks your heart to see good food going to waste if it’s on a farm, on a dinner plate or a grocery store when there are people going hungry.”
With the holidays approaching, After the Harvest, has doubled efforts to enlist more support to bring in more semi-truckloads of rescued donated produce as gleaning season winds down. “This produce is much better health-wise as compared to packaged or processed foods that I think most people are used to donating during holidays and throughout the year. But having access to fresh, high quality fruits and vegetables makes a huge difference in the lives of those who are hungry in our area,” Kelly said.
Serving as Board President, Kelly says, is very rewarding as the organization works with Harvesters and food pantries to get healthy food to children and families who often don’t know from day to day where their next meal is coming from. Said Kelly, “It’s a great cause with a great mission doing great work.”