TRENTON – More than $73,000 will help provide fresh New Jersey produce to agencies that feed those in need.
The New Jersey Department of Agriculture State Food Purchase Program will provide $66,277 to Farmers Against Hunger and Grow It Green Morristown will receive $7,112.
“Gleaning operations complement our existing emergency feeding programs by providing our state’s neediest citizens with fresh fruits and vegetables from our Garden State farmers,” said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher in a release.
“This grant funding will help the two organizations step up their efforts next growing season to provide even more produce to our state’s food banks, food pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters and other agencies that feed the needy.”
According to the Agriculture Department, the grants must be used by the organizations for collection, distribution and administrative costs. The groups must distribute the gleaned New Jersey grown produce only to New Jersey residents.
The funding for the grants comes from the State Food Purchase Program, for which Gov. Christie allocated $6.8 million this year to be distributed quarterly to the state’s six food banks.
Farmers Against Hunger serves 7,000 people weekly during the growing season through 60 organizations, including soup kitchens, food pantries and the state’s food banks, according to the state.
Farmers from all over the state participate by donating their surplus produce or allowing volunteers to come onto their farms and pick excess produce. In 2011, they received about 1.5 million pounds of fruits and vegetables from farmers, food retailers and distributors.