Farm to Food Bank is a pilot program and example of how conservation is key to fighting hunger. The program is designed to improve soil health, key to producing enough food to feed everyone on the planet. The gleanings from the program go to feed people who are hungry now.
Scotty Herriman is involved in the local conservation district where he learned of the Farm to Food Bank program. He wanted to get it started in eastern Oklahoma and was quick to offer to grow a crop on his property.
“When I learned the program was going to help people I was glad to do this. The plants worked well as cover crop and the bonus is they are also edible for people. With the weather this year, it surprised me how much we grew. I would do this again next year and hope we do better.”
The morning of the harvest started in dreary fashion, as a small group of volunteers gathered and rain dribbled down. Mr. Herriman decided to persevere the weather and go ahead with the harvest. The two-acre field was planted in “chaos” fashion, meaning seeds for the cover crops, planted to enrich the soil, were scattered at random. It was rather like a treasure hunt walking through the field finding produce. Mr. Herriman was surprised the quickly gleaned harvest filled nearly six totes with pumpkins and squash. The gleanings from his field will be distributed to families by the Lenapah Community Food Pantry, a local Partner Agency of the Food Bank.
Farm to Food Bank is made possible through a partnership among the United States Department of Agriculture – Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts, the Oklahoma Conservation Commission, and the Oklahoma Food Banks. Green Cover Seed donated the seed for the project.
The Food Bank’s executive Director Eileen Bradsaw noted, “This is great opportunity for everyone. It is one of those unique situations where commercial and humanitarian interests coincide.”