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Good Shepherd Food Bank brokers the purchase of one million pounds of Maine potatoes to Greater Boston Food Bank

Good Shepherd Food Bank brokers the purchase of one million pounds of Maine potatoes to Greater Boston Food Bank

Good Shepherd Food Bank brokers the purchase of one million pounds of Maine potatoes to Greater Boston Food Bank

Mainers Feeding Mainers program expanding beyond state borders

Auburn, ME – The success of Good Shepherd Food Bank’s farm purchase program, Mainers Feeding Mainers, has received national acclaim and now has the attention of the largest food bank in New England.  This means big business for the Maine food industry.

Good Shepherd Food Bank has now entered into a pilot project with a brokered agreement between the Greater Boston Food Bank and Irving Farms of Caribou, Maine involving the purchase of one million pounds of potatoes.

Noah Winslow, marketing coordinator for Irving Farms says “We are excited to be in partnership with Good Shepherd and The Greater Boston Food Bank.   These relationships are wonderful for the Maine potato industry and an excellent distribution solution for the potatoes we grow that don’t make it on the US # 1 fresh market, but are still of very good quality and perfectly edible.  Our potatoes are fresh, local and now readily available to them for most months of the year.  It is nice to know they will not go to waste.”

Ann Cote, Product Management Director for the Greater Boston Food Bank commented, “We will now receive half of our potato acquisition from Irving Farms, which typically averages 1 to 2 truckloads (20,000 pounds) a month.   We are pleased to be able to support local agriculture and minimize our environmental footprint by sharing transportation and storage with Good Shepherd.   Logistically, is it the most efficient and cost effective model. “

In talks with other New England food banks, Good Shepherd learned that the Greater Boston Food Bank was purchasing over 8 million pounds of produce from Canada and trucking it right through Maine.    Nancy Perry, Mainers Feeding Mainers program manager for GSFB realized that her program could help direct some of this business to Maine farmers.   “Most of the larger potato growers in Maine are scaled for national contracts, the mid-sized to smaller farmers are busy farming and do not have the time and resources to cultivate some of these unique purchasing relationships or simply do not have the infrastructure – like transportation and storage to meet the demand.   By collaborating with Good Shepherd, we can provide some additional storage, share transportation costs and all help each other out.”

Mainers Feeding Mainers is a partnership between Good Shepherd Food Bank and Maine farms, dairies, fisheries, and other local food producers to eliminate hunger in Maine.  It involves opening local food channels with the help of trusted purchase partnerships, and developing strategies to insure safe and efficient distribution of nutritious food to hundreds of hunger relief programs serving in all 16 Maine counties.

The Mainers Feeding Mainers program was established in 2010. In its first full year, the program acquired and distributed just over 175 tons of nutritious, locally produced food.  Last year, the program distributed over 2 million pounds of local farm produce to needy Maine families and individuals.

In 2014, Mainers Feeding Mainers purchased 1,048,000 lbs. of Maine-grown produce and received 1,003,000 lbs. of donated farm product from Maine farms for a total of 2,051,000 lbs of healthy Maine produce for low-income families, while investing nearly $500,000 in Maine’s agricultural sector.  This investment has a multiplier effect that also helps strengthen the Maine communities where the farms are located.

Kristen Miale, president of Good Shepherd Food Bank states, “We plan to sustain the Mainers Feeding Mainers program well into the future to give Maine’s food insecure people access to more nutritious, locally grown foods while making a substantial contribution to Maine’s agricultural economies.”

The greatest obstacle for most farmers in Maine is the lack of cold storage and an adequate distribution/processing facility in central Maine.  The Food Bank is currently promoting bond proposal LD 733 which would support infrastructure upgrades and allow for a significant expansion in the purchasing of Maine produce by the New England charitable food system and potentially other markets.  Miale adds, “I truly believe that this is the sort of investment the state needs to make in order for the agricultural sector to play a significant role in an economic recovery.”


About Irving Farms

Irving Farms is located in Caribou, Maine and has been involved in the potato industry for five generations, providing quality, safe and fresh potatoes to various chains and markets throughout the Eastern United States.  For more information visit or call (207) 492-0600.

About The Greater Boston Food Bank
The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB) is the largest hunger-relief organization in New England and among the largest food banks in the country. GBFB distributes more than 50 million pounds of food and grocery products annually to 550 member hunger-relief agencies and more than 30 direct service programs throughout eastern Massachusetts in a dedicated partnership to end hunger in our region. This provides meals for as many as 500,000 people a year. GBFB is a member of Feeding America, the nation’s food bank network. For more information, visit us at, become a fan on Facebook, follow us on Twitter (@gr8bosfoodbank), or call us at 617.427.5200.

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:; Phone: (207) 782-3554; Facebook:; Twitter:

Contact: Melissa Huston

(207) 299-7793