"Keeping Niagara County produce local, reducing food insecurity, and alleviating hunger"
Plentiful Partnership of Niagara invites farmers, area institutions and anyone with a vested interest in keeping Niagara County produce local to its annual workshop and farm-to-table dinner on Thursday, April 3, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Cornell Cooperative Extension Training Center, 4487 Lake Ave., Lockport.
Creating Healthy Places to Live, Work, and Play, a New York State Department of Health grant and CCE program, formed the foundation for PPN. PPN is a collaborative effort among Cornell Cooperative Extension of Niagara County, the Food Bank of WNY, Niagara Community Action Program Inc., local farmers and area institutions.
Each year, produce is left in the fields to waste or is discarded prematurely, either due to cosmetic imperfections or the absence of an outlet. CHP is working to increase the local harvest and reduce waste by working with area farmers and distributors to better connect produce with those who need it. This will also provide an opportunity to increase community consumption of local fruits and vegetables. The aim is to keep Niagara County produce local, connect produce to area distribution systems, reduce food insecurity and alleviate hunger.
The Plentiful Partnership of Niagara workshop will recognize generous farmers, celebrate Niagara County's rich agricultural history, and engage farmers on how they might help reduce waste and sell more produce locally.
Justin Guerin, operations director for the Food Bank of WNY, said, "We are committed to developing sustainable relationships with the farmers in our area, keeping dollars locally invested and distributing locally grown foods to our neighbors. (It) is not just good business, but the right thing to do."
Tom Tower, a local farmer and longtime donor to the Food Bank of WNY noted, "If you have perishables that are ripe and ready, and it's excess for the market, it should find its way into the bellies of the needy."
Tower will join a diverse panel, consisting of CHP staff, Food Bank of WNY representatives and food pantry managers who will address the following:
•Direct selling options for fruits and vegetables
•Donation options for imperfect or unwanted produce, including market gleaning
•Opportunities to set aside a portion of a crop for pre-sale with the Food Bank of WNY
Those interested should RSVP to Margaret Lapp at 716-433-8839, ext. 232, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Niagara County, a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization, helps families and communities across Niagara County thrive in a rapidly changing world. CCE offers quality educational programming services in a range of areas, including agriculture, food systems and horticulture; environment and natural resources; 4-H, youth development and families; nutrition, health and food safety; and community and economic vitality. For information about CCE, visit www.cceniagaracounty.org or call 716-433-8839.