Backyard Farms recognized as one of the top food donors to Good Shepherd Food Bank
Madison-based tomato grower donated over 600,000 pounds of tomatoes in 2014
Auburn, ME –Good Shepherd Food Bank is pleased to announce that Backyard Farms, a year-round grower of tomatoes in Maine is among the top food donors to Good Shepherd Food Bank. Giving back to the Maine community is a major component of Backyard Farms’ mission.
“We are proud to be based in the state of Maine and feel fortunate that our fresh tomatoes can be part of the solution in meeting a pressing need,” said Stuart Jablon, president of Backyard Farms. ”Unfortunately, hunger is a major issue in our state and we feel a responsibility to help.”
Hannaford and Wal-Mart rank number one and number two respectively, as the top two food donors to the Food Bank. In 2014, Hannaford donated 7,587,889 pounds, of which 32% was produce. Wal-Mart donated 4,139,163 with 29% being produce. “We would not be in operation without both the food and financial support of these loyal partners,” said Kristen Miale, president of the Good Shepherd Food Bank. “It was a nice surprise to see Backyard Farms come in at number three with 613,402 pounds donated since 100% of those pounds was fresh, locally grown produce.” Traditionally, food banks have been set up to distribute non-perishable foods donated by local businesses. In recent years, efficiencies in inventory management have resulted in fewer donations of surplus food items from retailers and distributors. “We’ve had to get creative in developing new and additional relationships to source food to keep up with the rising need for assistance, commented Miale. “For the past four years, we have been partnering with local farmers as well as dairy and seafood providers to learn how we can work together to achieve our collective goals. These food producers are all dealing with perishable items that often go to waste, while many of our neighbors go hungry.”
In order to safely store and distribute fresh and frozen items, nine refrigerator trucks are now a part of the Food Bank fleet and construction to expand cold storage capacity for produce is currently underway at their main distribution facility in Auburn. Good Shepherd believes this has been worth the investment of both time and money because these perishable items, such as tomatoes that are packed with nutrients and vitamins, are the most nutritious.
Backyard Farms has been generous with its donations and its tomatoes have become regular items in the Food Bank’s food mobile distributions as well as a growing number of school pantries. “We are so impressed with the Food Bank’s nutrition efforts and are excited that Backyard Farms can play a role in helping people have access to nutritious food in order to lead healthy, productive lives,” said Jablon. For statistics on poverty and hunger, photos, or interview requests, please contact Melissa Huston at (207) 299-7793 or firstname.lastname@example.org
About Backyard Farms
Located in Madison, Maine, Backyard Farms is committed to growing fresh, ripened-on-the-vine tomatoes year-round for consumers across the Northeast. All Backyard Farms tomatoes are non-GMO and are hydroponically grown in the company’s 42 acre greenhouse where they are left on the vine until fully ripe. They are then picked, packed, and shipped no further than a day’s drive to your local market, creating a tomato that is sweet and bursting with flavor. The company bases its business on the principles of growing the best tomatoes possible, taking care of its employees, giving back to local communities and treating the earth with respect. For more information about Backyard Farms please visit its website at backyardfarms.com or Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/BackyardFarms.
About Good Shepherd Food Bank
As the largest hunger relief organization in Maine, Good Shepherd Food Bank provides for Mainers facing hunger by distributing nutritious food to 600 partner agencies across the state, including food pantries, meal sites, and youth programs. Together with its network, the Food Bank leads a statewide effort to combat the root causes of hunger by engaging in advocacy, nutrition education, and strategic partnerships. In 2014, the Food Bank distributed more than 17.5 million meals to families, children, and seniors in need throughout Maine. Website: www.feedingmaine.org; Phone: (207) 782-3554; Facebook: www.facebook.com/feedingmaine; Twitter: www.twitter.com/feedingmaine
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