Health Care Foundation support is key to securing more fruits, vegetables

Potatoes, squash, tomatoes, sweet potatoes – After the Harvest (ATH) is bringing them in by the truckload!

From Staff: As of May, 2016, ATH has provided more than 1.5 million pounds of fresh, nutritious produce this year to area food pantries and food banks to feed hungry people. Harvesters—the Community Food Network is the primary distribution partner for After the Harvest, and, in fact, ATH is one of Harvesters’ largest food donors.

The produce is procured by ATH and its volunteers who glean fruits and vegetables, that may otherwise go to waste, from farms and orchards. After the Harvest also secures large truckloads of produce from commercial growers and packers who donate the food and ATH arranges for packaging and freight, usually around $5,000 per truckload.

While ATH may be bringing in the produce, key to this process is the Health Care Foundation, whose continued financial support helps to cover the packaging and freight costs of this donated food. In early June, the Health Care Foundation announced a $200,000 grant to support ATH’s efforts in the 2016-2017 grant year.

“The Health Care Foundation has been an important supporter since we opened our doors in May of 2014, said Lisa Ousley, ATH’s Executive Director. “We are grateful for their commitment to the health and welfare of struggling families in our area, and for their support of our work.”

Fresh, nutritious produce is central in any healthy diet, but it’s often inaccessible to Kansas City families struggling with poverty and food insecurity. In 2016, the Health Care Foundation will award approximately $20 million in grants in the Greater Kansas City area. HCF financially supports programs, projects and services that eliminate barriers and promote quality health for the uninsured and underserved. For a complete list of “Healthy Communities” grants the Health Care Foundation awarded, go to: http://hcfgkc.org/news/hcf-awards-2-65-million-healthy-communities-grants/

_____________________________________________________________________________________

About After the Harvest

After the Harvest has delivered more than 5.2 million pounds of fresh, nutritious produce to feed those in need since its first year of operation in 2014. Living up to its tagline: “Healthy Food for Hungry People,” the organization has provided everything from strawberries to watermelon, greens to sweet corn, and potatoes to okra.

The small staff at After the Harvest works with thousands of local volunteers to glean fields and orchards after they have been harvested, picking produce that would otherwise go to waste. Gleaning is the act of harvesting a field or orchard the second time. It is an ancient biblical term that refers to a practice that served as the social safety net in biblical times. Ancient laws instructed farmers to leave the corners of their fields and not to harvest a second time, but to leave this food to homeless, sick, unemployed orphans and widows.

ATH updates this practice by engaging volunteers to glean produce at area farms and orchards. Produce they glean is fresh, nourishing food that may not meet market standards for retail sale and is donated by the farmer. In some cases, farmers actually grow crops specifically for the organization to pick and deliver to food banks and pantries.

We also secure truckloads of donated fruits and vegetables from large commercial producers. This is excess and B-grade produce—fruits and vegetables that are perfectly good to eat but have been deemed unmarketable and could end up in landfills. The produce is donated by the grower or packer, and After the Harvest pays packaging and freight costs to move it to food banks (like Harvesters) and pantries primarily in Greater Kansas City and in the states of Kansas and Missouri. Visit our website at https://aftertheharvestkc.org