Did you know that currently 40% of all food produce in the US is wasted? To reduce this, FoodChain’s Kitchen is partnering with GleanKY, area farmers, KY Farms to FoodBanks, and God’s Pantry to process surplus produce that is unsaleable through typical markets. It is then transformed into lightly processed goods that can then be sold to food banks as well as other markets.
Rescuing Surplus Produce
GleanKY* has been rescuing produce for many years, and would drop it off at nearby food pantries, meal providers, and anyone who is giving free food to food insecure populations. However, in agriculture when it rains it pours, so when the market is flooded and the tomatoes are turning there is often just too much produce for food banks and pantries to store, cook, or send out. That is where FoodChain comes in!
Processing the Produce
We provide the important processing step to transform the split tomatoes, funny shaped squash, and all the extra eggplant into a product that is frozen or dehydrated. Then, in the winter months, when the Ky grown produce has slowed to a trickle for families who are food insecure, we are able to send out all those processed products, along with recipes and meal suggestions to help incorporate these products into nutritious meals!
Processing local produce is an essential and currently missing step towards creating a sustainable and economically viable food system. By processing, we will be turning carrots into carrot soup, pumpkins into a puree, and creating the familiar bags of frozen vegetables but now made with local, fresh produce.
Distributing Processed Produce
After the produce is sent to us and peeled, seeded, diced, steamed, frozen or dehydrated, it is then packaged and sent to food pantries across the state, as well as other markets. Providing year round access to nutritional, locally sourced, seasonal veggies!
When we distribute the processed products we make sure to include recipes and meal suggestions to help folks incorporate these products into nutritious meals. We are even able to provide taste testings at some pantries to help inspire someone who may not know what to do with butternut squash.
The bulk of this processing is done in our Food Sector Job Training Program, recruiting under and unemployed individuals from our community to learn professional kitchen safety and skills while working to dismantle barriers to employment.
Interested in helping out?
In our teaching and processing kitchen we need help with prepping and processing all of the local produce and fruit we receive– like squash! There will be slicing and dicing, peeling and wheeling, chopping and bopping. You name it. If you love being in a kitchen, or if you’re interested in learning ways to prepare and process food, volunteer by clicking here! This is also a great opportunity to engage your work cohort in volunteer efforts. To schedule a group, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org