Purdue, Food Finders increase fresh produce for those in need

(WLFI Photo)

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Food Finders Food Bank and Purdue University are joining forces to help more people get fresh produce.

Food Finders’ Kier Crites knows having fresh produce is a difficult task.

“We often kind of get what’s left over, it’s already wilting and on its way out,” Crites said. “And no one really wants that. So when Purdue Extension came to us we were thrilled.”

Tamara Benjamin from Purdue Extension came to Food Finders with an idea to help farmers, food pantries and those with food insecurities.

“If we can link people that want to pay more to Food Finders for local produce to keep money in the local economy, maybe we can offer a higher price for local produce,” Benjamin said.

The initiative is called Waste Not Want Not. The goal is to reach a deal with farmers who have a surplus of crops.

Instead of tilling over excess crops and having them go to waste, food banks are hoping to buy fresh and healthy produce at a discounted rate.

“We’re tasked with not only trying to provide food to people who need it, but also try and find and source as much nutritious and healthy food as we can,” Crites said.

Both Benjamin and Crites said donated food is always preferred for the food pantry.

Food Finders recently received a donation to Waste Not Want Not and purchased 300 heads of lettuce.

The lettuce was in and out of the pantry in less than two days.

“So can we find a price point where a farmer is happy — they got at least some of their investment back,” Benjamin said. “They probably didn’t get everything, they didn’t make a profit, but did they get something back? And that’s really the goal of this project.”

Crites says they’ve already seen a 300 percent increase in produce distribution just this year.

You can find more information on this initiative and how you can donate on their website.

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