Farm to Food Bank Resource Guide for NC Cooperative Extension

— Written By

In North Carolina, food insecurity affects 1.6 million people, or about 15.9 percent of the population (USDA 2017). Food insecurity is the lack of access to enough food for an active, healthy lifestyle for all household members; it also refers to the limited availability of nutritionally adequate foods (USDA 2017). Food insecure families often rely on food pantries or other food security organizations to supplement or stretch their food budgets.

Many different types of people experience food insecurity. Some are individuals who work full time, including households with children; others are seniors and veterans. Increasing the availability of fresh, healthy, and nutritious food options at fresh producelocal food pantries can help improve the diets and health of food pantry clients, while also empowering them to make healthy choices. Strengthening connections between sources of local meat and produce and food security organizations also helps to reduce food waste, build community, and can benefit local farmers.

To help, NC Extension has created the Farm to Food Bank Resource Guide for North Carolina Cooperative Extension.  This resource guide aims to (1) showcase successful programs that provide local meat or produce to food banks or food pantries and (2) highlight Cooperative Extension’s role and opportunities for collaboration. While this resource guide has useful information for anyone who wishes to facilitate donations of local food to food banks and pantries, we focus specifically on the role that North Carolina Cooperative Extension has played or could play. N.C. Cooperative Extension has a significant opportunity to increase farm to food bank donations by facilitating the relationship between growers, gardeners, food banks, food pantries, and donation recipients.

The entire guide can be found here:

Or jump to the section you’re interested in:

  1. About this Guide
  2. Introduction: Food Banks and Food Pantries
  3. Direct to Food Bank and Food Pantry Donations
  4. Gleaning
  5. Venison Donation Programs
  6. Master Gardeners and Community/Home Gardens
  7. Food Pantry Produce Markets
  8. 4-H Chicken Donation: Embryology to Harvesting
  9. Reporting your Success in ERS (for Extension only, can be found under Agent and Specialist Resources, under the bullet about Enhancing Access to Local Foods)