Arizona has a great project designed to save unwanted produce and feed the hungry. It’s called Market on the Move. Local churches provide a place for the delivery and church members help to load up consumers who are looking for a way to get some more healthy food for their family at great prices.
Last March was the first time I’d heard about Market on the Move, and I decided to check it out. I wrote about it here: Vegetable Food Box Up to 60 Pounds and I shared how I processed the vegetables in my post the next day.
I knew the program would end once the summer heat began, but wasn’t sure when it would start up again. Now Market on the Move has posted on their site that they will begin the new season on October 1st, 2011. That’s just around the corner!
I’ve told many people about this program and I’ve also told our local food bank about it. I was surprised to learn that the food bank had never heard of Market on the Move, at least the lady I talked to had not heard of it. So often the food banks are filled to the brim with crackers, bread and even sugar-laden treats, and this is what they live on since they are at the mercy of the food banks. But for $10 they can get a huge box of fruit and vegetables to add to the table and make their meals more healthy.
If you are able to participate in a program like this, you definitely need to be prepared for the work it takes to process the vegetables. I chose to dehydrate some of the vegetables and freeze others, and it took several hours each time I brought home a box. I prefer dehydrating because it takes less space for storage. I was shocked at how the vegetables shrunk down to almost nothing. I still have a freezer drawer full of frozen vegetables and a few baggies of dehydrated.
Now this program is only in Arizona in the Phoenix metropolitan area, as far as I know, but you ought to ask in your area if there is a need for something like this program. I’m sure there is a need for folks who could use this program, but what about the farmers? Is good food ever being thrown out because no one bought it? Apparently hundreds of pounds of produce were being thrown into the landfill for one reason or another, one example given is when a certain amount of fruit and vegetables are ordered to go back east but a snowstorm shuts down transportation. So not only are the people in the area where it’s snowing unable to get any shipments of fresh produce, but the fresh produce sits here with nowhere to go, so it would be dumped into our landfills! This organization got together to rescue these fruits and vegetables in order to provide them to families in need, or anyone who is looking to stretch their budget.
Have you heard of anything like this in your area?