VDACS News Releases
February 1, 2024
Federation of Virginia Food Banks Receives More Than 11,000 Bushels of Virginia Grown Apples
Contact: Michael Wallace
A public, private, and philanthropic partnership is bringing more than 11,000 bushels of Virginia Grown apples to families across the Commonwealth. Crown Orchard Company, Silver Creek & Seaman’s Orchard, and Glaize Apples donated a surplus of apples to the Federation of Virginia Food Banks, and in return, the Federation compensated the orchards for packing and transportation cost. The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) provided funding for this effort through the Virginia Agriculture Food Assistance and the Virginia Farm to Virginia Families Food Box programs. The Federation also received funding for this effort from the Farm Credit of Virginias grant program. Additionally, the seven members of the Federation have collectively committed to purchasing four truckloads (5,600 cases) of unsweetened applesauce from National Fruit in Winchester. These purchases are made possible, in part, by American Rescue Plan funds granted by VDACS to the Federation for healthy food sourcing.
“This collaboration is a big win-win for growers and for the people who can use these nutritious and delicious Virginia apples the most,” said VDACS Commissioner Joseph Guthrie. “I am pleased that we are able to compensate Virginia apple growers for harvest cost, reduce a surplus of apples, and provide additional food resources for food banks throughout the Commonwealth.”
“Virginia’s food banks are distributing more local, fresh produce than ever before due to the generosity of Virginia’s farmers and our agriculture partners,” said Eddie Oliver, Executive Director of the Federation of Virginia Food Banks. “We know healthy food is often the most expensive and least accessible option for families facing hunger. That’s why we are excited and grateful to partner with VDACS and Virginia’s orchards to make so many delicious apples available to families across the Commonwealth.”
“Virginia apple growers take pride in their work and more so when the fruits of their labor are enjoyed by fellow Virginians. We are thrilled to be able to provide a surplus of apples from this year’s harvest to those in our communities who need it the most,” said Adam Cooke, Cider Master, Silver Creek and Seaman’s Orchard.
Brad Cornelius, CEO of Farm Credit of the Virginias, shared on behalf of Farm Credit, “Farm Credit of the Virginias, Horizon Farm Credit and Colonial Farm Credit proudly work in partnership to provide necessary support for the Federation of Virginia Food Banks and their efforts to combat food insecurity across the Commonwealth by rescuing unsold apples from local orchards. As a cooperative, Farm Credit’s mission is to be an engaged partner in the rural communities we serve, and we feel that giving back to worthy organizations is one way we can contribute to the overall wellbeing of our communities and valued member-borrowers.”
The Virginia Agriculture Food Assistance and the Virginia Farm to Virginia Families Food Box programs provide grants to charitable food assistance organizations to purchase locally grown agricultural products or to reimburse farmers or food producers for any costs associated with harvesting, processing, packaging, or transporting the donated products to charitable food assistance organizations. The products are then distributed to food insecure persons in Virginia in accordance with the food distribution guidelines for each charitable food assistance organization. Charitable organizations must be registered as a 501 (c)(3) organization to qualify for the grants and must clearly demonstrate how the project will benefit people and families who are food insecure. For more information on VDACS food distribution programs, visit www.vdacs.virginia.gov/food-food-distribution.shtml.
The Federation of Virginia Food Banks is the Commonwealth’s largest charitable response to hunger, representing Virginia’s seven Feeding America food banks and more than 1,100 partner agencies. In 2023, the Federation and its member foodbanks distributed over 143 million pounds of food and grocery items.
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