Jed Colquhoun, UW-Extension Weed Specialist
Department of Horticulture
UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
Getting that extra food out of the field and into people’s mouths. Growers step up to support local food bank in a new “Field to Food Bank” project.
Time – 3:00 minutes
0:18 – Second Harvest food distribution center
0:37 – The Field to Food Bank Project
0:55 – How Field to Food Bank works
1:25 – How the project started
1:56 – Chain of generosity
2:20 – Produce in the project
2:40 – How to get involved
2:51 – Lead out
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Sevie Kenyon: Jed, welcome to our microphone. Start out by telling us where we are today.
Jed Colquhoun: We’re at Second Harvest of Southern Wisconsin Food Bank in Madison, Wisconsin. This is a distribution source for 16 counties in southern Wisconsin that distributes food products to a variety of different clientele.
Sevie Kenyon: And Jed, how are you involved with Second Harvest?
Jed Colquhoun: We’ve been involved in a project that we’ve called now, field to food bank. That program is looking at capturing resources out of the field, and putting them into a format to be distributed through the food bank system, such as Second Harvest of Southern Wisconsin.
Sevie Kenyon: Can you give us an example of how that works?
Jed Colquhoun: Sure. We’ve had some great test runs in the 2011 growing season, including a couple of acres of carrots from one of our very generous producers in central Wisconsin. Those carrots were harvested, transported to a local processing plant, in cooperation with the food processors and the can manufacturers. And then those cans will end up, eventually, at the Second Harvest of Southern Wisconsin, and distributed through that 16 county food pantry network.
Sevie Kenyon: Can you tell us how you became involved in this?
Jed Colquhoun: We were at a food producers’ meeting and those producers were talking about some of the crops they had produced during that growing season and what they might be able to do with the produce that was in excess of what the system could handle. Meanwhile, Jim Shireman, of Second Harvest of Southern Wisconsin was also at that luncheon and realized the potential to combine the agricultural strengths with the need to fight hunger, and it all grew from there.
Sevie Kenyon: Can you describe for us the chain of people involved in this project?
Jed Colquhoun: This was a community that’s been very generous to the food banks in the past and we’re building on that capacity in this project. Everybody from growers to food processors, to the can manufacturers themselves, to the trucking companies that move this produce around, this is another opportunity to build on that generosity and their business entity that happens to produce food.
Sevie Kenyon: And what kind of products are we talking about?
Jed Colquhoun: In the first year we took test runs on a wide variety of foods from carrots to potatoes …focusing on fresh, end processed vegetables, with the capacity of processed vegetables to be able to be stored for a longer period of time.
Sevie Kenyon: And Jed, are there opportunities for more growers to be involved?
Jed Colquhoun: If folks want to get interested they can contact us at the Field to Food Bank project, or contact their local food bank and see what capacity they have to handle locally produced food.
Sevie Kenyon: We’ve been visiting with Jed Colquhoun, department of horticulture, University of Wisconsin, in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Madison, Wisconsin… and I’m Sevie Kenyon.