Eastern Oregon farmers double efforts to aid COVID-19 afflicted families

By Brett Kane East Oregonian

From left to right: Kenzie, Luke, and T.J. Hansell are among the over 100 farmers across the state doubling their efforts to supply Farmers Ending Hunger with enough produce to aid families affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

From left to right: Kenzie, Luke, and T.J. Hansell are among the over 100 farmers across the state doubling their efforts to supply Farmers Ending Hunger with enough produce to aid families affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

ATHENA — Kenzie Hansell has been farming wheat for Farmers Ending Hunger since the nonprofit’s inception in 2004, but this year he’ll be doubling his efforts.

The organization, which takes produce donations from farmers around the state and ships them to food banks, set a goal earlier this month to double their output in order to supply the Oregon Food Bank and smaller organizations to provide area families who are in the midst of financial strain in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak with enough food to make it through the crisis.

According to a recent press release, an average of 84,000 children in Oregon rely on meals from emergency food boxes.

“Our board of directors decided that, in this time of need, we donate our efforts,” Farmers Ending Hunger Founder and President Fred Ziari said. “We asked our growers to give more, which has never been an issue in the past.”

Although wheat and alfalfa are their primary produce, Hansell Farms also grow grass seed, lima beans, and carrots. They also lease a portion of their land to watermelon, onion, and potato farmers.

“It’s a goal, and that’s the most important thing,” said Hansell, who runs farms in Athena and Hermiston with his brothers, T.J. and Luke. “It’s a situation where food insecurity is on a lot of people’s minds. If us farmers can come together, we will continue to be connected and work as a state to make sure some people’s insecurities can be met.”

Hansell’s farm in Athena is roughly 2,500 acres of owned and leased land that primarily grows wheat and alfalfa. The wheat that he donates is used for pancake mix at Pendleton’s Grain Craft and Continental Mills based out of Seattle.

“This is good product,” Hansell said. “Everyone needs to eat. Everyone is impacted by this in one way or another — producer or consumer.”

Hansell and his brothers spend their days, which could span anywhere from eight to 16 hours, planting, seeding, working the ground, and harvesting their product to ready it for donation. They are part of approximately 100 farms across the state working with Farmers Ending Hunger to aid in coronavirus relief.

The nonprofit delivers to food banks across the state, at minimum, once a month.

“This is a time where people are afraid,” Ziari said. “Food shelves are empty. People are losing their jobs. The stress of food insecurity is even greater (now). We as a farming community wanted to make sure our fellow Oregonians are not hungry.”

The nonprofit’s efforts will likely span all year long and into the next, according to Executive Director John Burt.

“It’s planting time right now, and they’re planting extra,” said Burt, a resident of Dallas. “It’ll grow as the year goes on. The response is positive from the growers. They understand the issue, and they want to help.”

Along with the portion of their harvest donated by participating farmers, additional help from food processors and public donations aid Farmers Against Hunger in their mission. Last year, Eastern Oregon farmers in Umatilla and Morrow counties donated more than 3 million pounds of produce. Their goal of doubling that number this year will help ailing food banks who are struggling to keep up with families in need.

“Food banks are scrambling right now from what’s been going on,” Burt said. “Lots of people are going to need food, and lots of people are afraid to go out. They’re going to run out of things. People are also going to be out of work. That unemployment check might not come soon enough. Farmers, we’re still going. Nothing has changed.”

While the day-to-day routine for participating farmers has remained relatively unchanged, Farmers Ending Hunger has faced its share of setbacks due to the COVID-19 outbreak. They were the target nonprofit for the Dancing With the Pendleton Stars event that was canceled due to concerns over the coronavirus spread, and their kickoff event earlier this month was also canceled, along with two fundraisers that were slated for April.

The organization accepts public help through their Adopt-an-Acre program. Supporters can donate at www.farmersendinghunger.com, or send contributions to P.O. Box 7361, Salem, OR 97303. Donations are used to cover costs associated with product sorting, canning, freezing, processing, packaging, and delivery.

The nonprofit has also partnered with the Pendleton Round-Up and the Happy Canyon to host a Farmers Ending Hunger Day on Wednesday, Sept. 16, and will feature interactive exhibits and donation opportunities for rodeo patrons to help in the fight against hunger in Oregon. Tickets start at $15 and can be purchased at www.pendletonroundup.com, or by calling 541-276-2553.

“Demand on the food banks never lets up,” Burt said. “We’re going to try and keep it going.”

EASTERN OREGON FARMERS INCREASE FOOD DONATIONS TO FARMERS ENDING HUNGER DURING CORONAVIRUS CRISIS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media contact: Lisa Hill
503.730-8055, [email protected]

Umatilla and Morrow county farmers double donations of potatoes and onions and wheat for shelf-stable baking mix

PORTLAND, Ore. (March 20, 2020) – Eastern Oregon wheat, onion and potato farmers are doubling their efforts and donating even more fresh food during the current Coranavirus epidemic sweeping our state. “Last year we received over three million pounds of food from Umatilla and Morrow county farmers and today they announced they are committed to doubling that amount of food during this time of economic uncertainty,” says Fred Ziari, founder of Farmers Ending Hunger. Individuals can support the mission and donate funds to the Adopt an Acre program.

Farmers Ending Hunger offers a creative solution to eradicating hunger in Oregon by working directly with farmers who are growing and harvesting food as an intentional donation, and utilizing the Oregon Food Bank’s distribution network. The donated wheat is turned into pancake mix with the help of partners at Pendleton’s Grain Craft and Continental Mills in Washington State, and local ranchers are donating more cattle to be processed into hamburger meat for emergency food boxes.
“Oregon is one of the most productive growing regions in the country and also one of the hungriest,” says Ziari. “In an average month, 84,000 children in Oregon eat meals from emergency food boxes and with this health crisis, this number will grow daily. Our farmers recognize the immediate need and can pivot to make this additional donation happen.”
“Farmers have a tremendous opportunity to donate even more food during this crisis and do what they can do feed more of our community members experiencing food insecurity,” said Kenzie Hansell, FEH board member and farmer in Athena and Hermiston.
Partnering with Farmers Ending Hunger, the Pendleton Round-Up continues to work closely with local farmers to donate food to the local community. Farmers Ending Hunger Day at the 2020 Pendleton Round-Up will feature interactive exhibits and opportunities for visitors to help contribute to fighting hunger through donations and action. Tickets for the Wednesday, September 16 rodeo performance start at $15 and are available at http://www.pendletonroundup.com/ or call (541) 276- 2553.

About Farmers Ending Hunger
Eastern Oregon resident Fred Ziari created the nonprofit Farmers Ending Hunger in 2004 when he learned that Oregon was one of the hungriest states in the country. Farmers Ending Hunger gathers Oregon’s agricultural resources to help feed the hungry. For information on how to contribute to Adopt-an-Acre, please visit www.farmersendinghunger.com or call Executive Director John Burt at 503-931-9232. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram at Farmers Ending Hunger for news and events.

Featured in Capital Press: ‘Plate and Pitchfork’ helps hungry Oregonians’

PlateandPitchfork2017smithberry-05725_preview
Agritourism business supports hunger relief by donating portion of ticket sales and merchandise proceeds to Oregon nonprofits.
By KATY NESBITT For the Capital Press

Published on March 13, 2018 8:07AM

PORTLAND — While a growing push to link consumers with their food has become the norm, one Oregon agritourism business is stretching the local food movement further by sharing its proceeds with the hungry.

Every summer since 2003 Plate and Pitchfork has offered on-farm, gourmet meals around Oregon featuring tours of the land the meal was harvested and an opportunity to interact with the host farmers. Since its inception, Plate and Pitchfork has shared a portion of its profits.

“Plate and Pitchfork has always supported hunger relief — in the beginning we divided our support between hunger and environmental causes,” founder Erika Polmar said.

As her business grew and the message of eating locally produced food became well known, Polmar said she wanted to make a more dramatic impact by sharing her profits with those who don’t get enough to eat.

“One-in-five Oregonians is food insecure,” Polmar said.

For the past six years a portion of ticket sales and profits from merchandise were sent to Farmers Ending Hunger, a group that solicits crop donations from farmers for the Oregon Food Bank. In 2016 those donations added up to more than $22,000.

A donation of $150 to Farmers Ending Hunger is a year’s supply of fresh vegetables for a family of four, providing Polmar a way to make the dramatic impact she sought.

“I wanted to work with them because they are so cost efficient with so little overhead,” Polmar said.

John Burt has served as Farmers Ending Hunger’s executive director for 10 of its 11 years. The retired Oregon State University extension agent said in 2015 his group helped get more than four million pounds of donated food to the Oregon Food Bank and 3.5 million pounds last year.

“We help get food from point A to the food box,” Burt said.

Potatoes and onions make up half of the fresh food that Farmers Ending Hunger steers to the food bank, totaling one million pounds each. A major cherry producer in the Columbia Gorge is donating nearly 100,000 pounds, delivering bins every week during the season a large cattle farm donates hamburger.

A lot of the crops, such as carrots, green beans, carrots or beets, are frozen or canned at Norpac. At planting time Burt said Norpac knows how many acres of crop to expect.

Three years ago a wall-size display featuring Farmers Ending Hunger was installed at SAGE Center in Boardman, a sustainable agriculture and energy interpretive center. The center’s interactive displays describe the food and energy businesses at the Port of Morrow and their impact on the region.

“To be asked to have space on the wall felt like we’d arrived,” Burt said.

For Polmar, finding worthy causes to share her profits was easy, but collecting more than 100 donations from each of Plate and Pitchfork’s events was generating an administrative nightmare for nonprofits with small staffs like Farmers Ending Hunger where Burt is part-time, running an entire program on roughly $125,000 year.

To alleviate the paperwork burden for the organizations she supports, Polmar started the Plate & Pitchfork Fund to End Hunger in 2017, under the umbrella of the McKenzie River Gathering, a community foundation. The donations go into the fund throughout the summer months and at the end of the year checks are cut to different organizations.

“This was the first year we awarded $15,000 to Farmers Ending Hunger, $1,000 to Lower Columbia School Gardens and $3,500 to Community Connection of Northeast Oregon’s food bank,” Polmar said.

Polmar is preparing her 2018 Plate and Pitchfork calendar, on-farm meals with a story and a mission.

“When guests come to dinner this year a portion of their ticket and merchandise purchases will benefit the fund and awarded to Farmers Ending Hunger and other organizations finding creative ways to solve Oregon’s hunger crisis,” Polmar said.

To learn more about Plate and Pitchfork’s fund visit www.plateandpitchfork.com. For more information on Farmers Ending Hunger, visit www.farmersendinghunger.com.

FOODWORX: The Future of Food Conference, Portland State University, Feb. 20th

foodworx-2015-huge-success (1)Fuel your mind and appetite at this exciting food conference exploring the unexpected and significant impact of food and drink on all aspects of life. Farmers Ending Hunger is honored to be one of the non-profit exhibitors joining some of Oregon’s best artisan food producers, including Red Wagon Creamery, Smitten: Artisan Truffles, Flourish Bakery and Honey Mama’s. Buy tickets here and stop by and say hello to John and Mary!

Dimes for a Difference at Whole Foods Market

Whole-Foods-Logo-1Use a reusable bag at any of the participating Whole Foods Markets in the Portland area and you can choose Farmers Ending Hunger to receive a $.10 bag credit. This local program is happening now through April 10th at the following stores:

  • Whole Foods Market Fremont – 3353 NE 15th Ave.
  • Whole Foods Market Hollywood – 4301 NE Sandy Blvd.
  • Whole Foods Market Pearl – 1210 NW Couch St.
  • Whole Foods Market Laurelhurst – 2825 E. Burnside St.

 

Featured in East Oregonian: “Test Potatoes Harvested to Feed Hungry Families”

By Sean Hart East Oregonian

STAFF PHOTO BY E.J. HARRIS
Workers at John Walchli’s potato processing facility work the sorting table for a shipment of potatoes donated by the Hermiston Agricultural Research & Extension Center to the Oregon Food Bank on Wednesday outside of Hermiston.
Spuds were once tilled over and destroyed, but farmer partnerships have allowed them to be added to food bank.
Truckloads of Hermiston potatoes that would have gone to waste will soon be delivered to needy families thanks to the collaboration between a variety of businesses and organizations.

For the second year, several acres of potatoes at Oregon State University’s Hermiston Agricultural Research & Extension Center were harvested Wednesday morning. The potatoes, planted from seeds provided by area growers, were part of a test plot funded by the Oregon Potato Commission that helped the growers determine whether any problems with their crop originated from the seed or something at their farm, HAREC director Phil Hamm said.

For the last 40 years, he said, the plot consisting of different varieties of potatoes were destroyed each year after the growing season. Last year, people and organizations came together to turn that waste into 160,000 pounds of food. This year the gross haul weighed in at 250,000 pounds, though the potatoes still needed to be cleaned.

“We are pleased to be able to provide potatoes that basically would have gone to waste to folks who can actually eat them,” Hamm said. “If you’re hungry, potatoes are potatoes. They all taste good. It doesn’t matter what color they are.”

Diana Quezada, a resource developer for the Community Action Program of East Central Oregon, helped bring everyone together. CAPECO, she said, serves as a regional food hub that supplies 17 partner agencies, such as food pantries, in Umatilla, Morrow, Wheeler and Gilliam counties. With a list of contacts who already helped the organization, Quezada organized the resources necessary to harvest, pack and transport the potatoes.

“It’s pretty significant for a single-day project, especially because they were just going to till it over,” she said.

The harvest benefits the 7,500 people served by CAPECO, she said, and the excess is donated to the Oregon Food Bank through the nonprofit organization Farmers Ending Hunger founded by Fred Ziari.

John Burt, executive director of the nonprofit, said last year’s donation from HAREC was the largest single donation the organization ever received at one time. Efforts such as this donation have helped the organization grow.

“We got 2.5 million pounds of donated stuff last year, and we’re going to do 3.5 to 4 million this year,” he said. “It’s growing, getting bigger — potatoes, onions, carrots, vegetable crops in the valley, fruit, fresh stuff, 22 head of cattle every month — a real mix of things. The fact that we exist gives a focal point for these growers to say, ‘I’ll donate through that.’ ”

However, getting the potatoes out of the ground, cleaned, packed and transported requires a lot of work. Stahl Farms stepped up to harvest the potatoes Wednesday morning, and Medelez & BJK Transport provided trucks to haul them for processing. John Walchli Farms and Paul Kern, from Botsford and Goodfellow, processed and packed them. Steve Walker Farms then provided transportation to another facility for holding until the food bank could pick them up.

Herb Stahl, from Stahl Farms, said it was nice to be able to give back.

“Farmers Ending Hunger is a great organization,” he said. “For us to be a part of it with the rest of the neighbors and farmers around here is wonderful. It’s a great opportunity.”

 

Featured in East Oregonian: “Farmers Ending Hunger Unveils SAGE Center Exhibit”

By George Plaven  East Oregonian

STAFF PHOTO BY GEORGE PLAVEN
John Burt, left, and Fred Ziari unveiled the new Farmers Ending Hunger exhibit Saturday at the SAGE Center.
Farmers Ending Hunger debuted a new exhibit at the SAGE Center Saturday in Boardman.
By the time 2015 draws to a close, Farmers Ending Hunger expects to donate nearly 4 million pounds of fresh, locally grown food to the Oregon Food Bank for the year.

That’s a single-year record and about 1.5 million pounds more than the organization managed in 2014, but Executive Director John Burt said they can still do more.

“There’s a big hunger issue in this state,” Burt said. “We need people to get involved.”

A crowd of 85 people gathered Saturday evening at the SAGE Center in Boardman to celebrate Farmers Ending Hunger, including Portland Mayor Charlie Hales and Oregon Food Bank CEO Susannah Morgan. The event also doubled as an unveiling for the new Farmers Ending Hunger exhibit at the SAGE Center — Boardman’s visitor’s center and regional agricultural museum.

Fred Ziari, president and CEO of IRZ Consulting in Hermiston, founded the nonprofit Farmers Ending Hunger in 2004 after learning Oregon was, at the time, the nation’s hungriest state.

Today, one in five Oregonians faces food insecurity. Ziari said he hopes the museum display will continue to galvanize Eastern Oregon farmers to help feed their neighbors.

“Just knowing this was happening in our own state was a shock to me,” Ziari said. “This display will educate permanently for hundreds of thousands of people coming through here.”

Farmers Ending Hunger represents a collaborative effort between more than 100 farmers, food processors and the Oregon Food Bank to deliver much-needed meals to families. On average, about 284,000 residents rely on emergency food boxes for meals. Of those, 34 percent are children.

Ziari said the organization was born not out of charity, but a labor of love. He recognized Amstad Produce for contributing 30 tons of potatoes per month; Hale Farms for contributing 25 tons of onions per month; and Threemile Canyon Farms for contributing 25-30 beef cows per month.

Enough wheat has also been donated for roughly 5 million pancakes, Ziari said. Much of that food ends up on the west side of the state, and Portland Mayor Hales said he wanted to thank those growers in person for their generosity.

Seventeen percent of Multnomah County’s population is food insecure, Hales said, or about 116,000 people.

“You are right on the forefront of an issue that profoundly affects the people I work for,” Hales said. “I so value the substance and the spirit of what you’re doing.”

Morgan, who has served as CEO of the Oregon Food Bank since 2012, emphasized hunger remains a big challenge in the state. However, the problem isn’t that there’s not enough food, she said, but a matter of gathering and distributing donations to the hungry.

The Oregon Food Bank stands ready to partner with Farmers Ending Hunger into the future, Morgan said.

“We will not rest until we’ve eliminated hunger,” she said.

Saturday’s event ended with a $10,000 donation to Farmers Ending Hunger from Northwest Farm Credit Services. Non-farmers can also donate the organization’s “Adopt an Acre” program.

Kenzie Hansell, a fourth-generation farmer with Hansell Farms, said that with everybody doing their part, they can continue to build on their success.

“As farmers, we have a responsibility to be stewards of the land,” Hansell said. “As humans, we have a responsibility to take care of one another.”

To learn more about Farmers Ending Hunger or to make a donation, visitwww.farmersendinghunger.com.

———

Contact George Plaven at [email protected] or 541-966-0825.

 

A Night Out with Farmers Ending Hunger

A Night Out with Farmers Ending Hunger will be on Nov. 7th at Sage Center in Boardman, ORWe are very excited about our first dinner & fundraiser happening at Sage Center on November 7th, 2015. We will be unveiling our new Sage Center exhibit and honoring our farmer heroes. Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, Farmer Ending Hunger board member Frank Lamb and Oregon Food Bank’s Executive Director, Susannah Morgan will all share a few words.

The Sage Center is located at 101 Olson Road in Boardman, OR.

5:30 Social Hour Begins
6:30 Dinner
7:30 Awards & Paddle Raise

Tickets $50 each. To purchase tickets you may do so by phone or mail. Call the Sage Center at 541-481-7243. Mail a check made out to Farmers Ending Hunger to:
Farmers Ending Hunger
c/o John Burt
PO Box 7361
Salem, OR 97303

A block of rooms are reserved at a local hotel for event guest at $89/night + tax:
River Lodge & Grill
6 Marine Drive
Boardman, OR 97818
541-481-6800
riverlodgeandgrill.com

Hope to see you there!

Digging in the Dirt: Urban and Rural

Sage-Center-Web-685x320I have spent my working life connecting the urban and rural communities of Oregon. County Fairs, the State Fair, Oregon Ag Fest and many talks to local Chambers of Commerce and Rotary Clubs are all good places to talk to folks about agriculture. Being that bridge between divergent populations has had its ups and downs, but it has mostly been a positive experience.

With Farmers Ending Hunger, I find myself in the exact same spot. Linking urban folks with their farming neighbors is more important than ever. As I speak with folks, I notice there are still a few gaps. I wonder if most consumers really know where and how most of their food is grown, processed and handled prior to the grocery store. An acre is roughly 209 by 209 feet in size, not much bigger than a typical city lot. But, from this one acre a grower can produce 8 tons of green beans, 12 tons of sweet corn and a whopping 30 tons of potatoes.

This productive capacity allows Farmers Ending Hunger to exist and be successful. Growers can set aside an acre or percent of production just for the Oregon Food Bank Network or sell a crop and donate the cash for the same purpose. It adds up a grower at a time and acre at a time, and in the end, results in millions of pounds of donated commodities each year. Once the need is met at the regional level in the Oregon Food Bank Network, the additional food is transported to the Oregon Food Bank in Portland for statewide distribution. Almost 45 percent of the people served by the Oregon Food Bank live in the Portland Metro area, so the majority of food donated from farms throughout the state is finding its way to our urban centers.

Whenever I visit the SAGE Center in Boardman, Ore., I am reminded of how important the urban-rural connection can be. The Sustainable Agriculture and Energy Center is a state-of-the-art, interactive learning environment for agricultural and natural resources. Farmers Ending Hunger is forging a new partnership with the SAGE Center, and you will hear much more in the near future. The SAGE Center is one more reason I am encouraged about the future of understanding between our urban and rural friends.

I am more optimistic these days because of the explosion of interest in local food. Farmers markets, CSA’s and farm stands are gaining in popularity. We want to make that connection with our food and meet the farmer face to face. “Locally grown” is the fastest growing segment in the food market, and when it comes to getting high quality food products into the Oregon Food Bank Network, it is what Farmers Ending Hunger is all about!

Digging in the Dirt: Fresh Sweet Corn for the Hungry

BruceSimonsonIt all starts with one farmer like Joe Fitts in Independence, Ore. who donated an acre of sweet corn to Farmers Ending Hunger. That’s 20,000 pounds of fresh sweet corn for the Oregon Food Bank Network. The net result is 10 pounds of fresh produce for about 2,000 food boxes that feed hungry families.

Another example is Bruce Simonson, a farmer in McMinnville, Ore. He planted eight acres of sweet corn, all dedicated to food banks. He’d had a crop failure and rather than let the prep work and fertilizer go to waste, he and his son decided to plant sweet corn. In October, a crew of farmers, volunteers, food bank staff and other community members harvested 90,000 lbs. of fresh sweet corn for the hungry.

This story is repeated farmer by farmer and acre by acre all over Oregon, as farmers, ranchers and food processors join Farmers Ending Hunger to help hungry Oregonians.

In 2013, total donations amounted to approximately 2.5 million pounds, and we expect the amount will be larger by the end of 2015.

Digging in the Dirt – August 2014

 

pancake-with-fruit-4From Wheat to Pancakes

For Farmers Ending Hunger, 2013 was the best year to date. It’s the seventh year I’ve been with Farmers Ending Hunger, and we received 2.5 million pounds in donated food products from Oregon farmers and ranchers. We’ve come a long way since that first donation of 173,000 pounds of frozen peas in November 2006. Now, we receive a variety of fresh and processed food products every year. It’s locally grown in Oregon and all high quality. We coordinate with Oregon Food Bank to ensure we target products they want to put into a food box.

For me, the interesting part is what needs to happen before a product is turned into the right form for a food box. Much of what we receive, such as potatoes and onions, doesn’t require further processing or much packaging. However, many products we receive require some handling before they can feed hungry folks.

For example, take pancake mix. Our mix starts with wheat donations from our farmers. It takes about 4,500 bushels for each 200,000 lb. batch we deliver each year to Oregon Food Bank. That’s about 230,000 lbs. of milled wheat! We have farmers who donate 100, 500 and even 1,000 bushels of wheat in a given year. We also partner with the Oregon Wheat Foundation and their “Bushels for Betsy” program, which provides about half the wheat needed.

The process starts at Pendleton Flour Mills to blend the correct varieties and mix of wheat for our secret flour blend. Then, our pancake mix flour is transported to Kent, WA, where Continental Mills adds the perfect ingredients and package the mix into three-pound bags for us. At this point, Oregon Food Bank sends trucks to Kent for the bagged pancake mix. The beauty of our pancake mix is that it is shelf stable. You only need to add water to make pancakes. It’s a versatile mix and can be used for biscuits, muffins and dumplings. The food banks tell me their clients really like it.

And yes, you could say that pancakes are empty calories, not the highly desired and recommended fruits, vegetables and protein we would like to have in a food box. But, hungry people need calories as much as any nutrient and pancakes can be a real treat once in awhile.

The process for other products can also be complex. The cattle we make into hamburger are processed in Woodland, WA, and then finished in Clackamas, OR. Cattle donated in Malhuer and Grant counties are processed in Nampa, ID, and Prineville, OR. It may seem like we go through a lot of steps, but these are the regular channels of production followed by commercial agriculture. We try to work within the established routes and not ask for any special or out-of-the-way handling.

As you might expect, we need many partners to get this all done. Obviously, we could not do what we do without Oregon Food Bank. Our private partners, such as Pendleton Flour Mills and Continental Mills, are equally important. And, not the least of our partners is you, our donors and supporters. Thank you!

John

Inaugural “Digging in the Dirt” Farmers Ending Hunger Blog!

What a difference seven years makes. As Farmers Ending Hunger marks its seven-year anniversary, Oregonians can be proud that our farmers, ranchers and food processors are doing their part to end hunger. From a humble beginning in the fall of 2006 when Farmers Ending Hunger delivered its first 173,000 pounds of frozen peas to Oregon Food Bank, we reached a milestone in 2013 when our growers donated 2,457,375 pounds of high-quality food products.

Partnerships make this remarkable achievement happen. A consistent, deliberate approach to building relationships among the agricultural community, Oregon Food Bank and the public created our success. For example, we just delivered 200,000 pounds of all-purpose baking mix, better known as “Pancake Mix”, to Oregon Food Bank. To produce the mix, Pendleton Flour Mills milled the wheat, Continental Mills blended and bagged it into 1 ½-pound bags and Oregon Food Bank moved and distributed it. And let’s not forget the Oregon farmers who donated over $33,000 worth of wheat to get us started.

Other examples include vegetables grown from the Willamette Valley and Hermiston area processed by Norpac Foods in Stayton, Ore. and cattle donated by Threemile Canyon Farms in Boardman, Ore. and processed into hamburger by Walt’s Wholesale Meats in Woodland, Wash. and Interstate Meats in Clackamas, Ore.

None of this would be possible without the final piece of the partnership — the public! We invite individuals and businesses to “Adopt an Acre” to help get these products from Point A to Point B in a form that easily fits into a food box. In 2013, we saw all cash donations top $100,000!

Wonderful, regional non-profit foundations have also supported us including Oregon Community Foundation, Collins Foundation, Lamb Foundation, Spirit Mtn. Community Fund, Providence Health and Services, First Stop Portland Foundation, Walmart Foundation and TomKat Foundation.  Thank you!

The bottom line is that our great partnerships at Farmers Ending Hunger are helping to end hunger in Oregon. In our seven years, farmers and ranchers in Oregon have donated over 11.8 million pounds of high-quality food to feed hungry people. We have a long way to go to alleviate hunger, but we have come a long way in such a short time.

You have our greatest appreciation,

John Burt
Executive Director

GOLF BALL DROP RAISES $9,600 FOR THE AGRI-BUSINESS COUNCIL OF OREGON AND FARMERS ENDING HUNGER

Donations support non-profit outreach to educate youth about farming and to help freed Oregon’s hungry 

Portland, Ore. August 13, 2013 – A hovering helicopter dropped 900 numbered golf balls onto the Chehalem Glenn driving range last week for the Golf Ball Drop sponsored by the Agri-Business Council of Oregon. For the third year, donors purchased one or more golf balls for a chance to win two round-trip airline tickets on Southwest Airlines. The Golf Ball Drop fundraiser supports the work of two Oregon non-profits hoping to raise awareness of Oregon’s agricultural community. The Agri-Business Council of Oregon and its Adopt a Farmer program introduces middle school students to agriculture and the important contributions of farmers. Farmers Ending Hunger works with Oregon farmers who donate a portion of their crops to help feed Oregon’s hungry. Its Adopt-an-Acre program raises money to transport and process the fresh ingredients for use in emergency food boxes.

“This year we raised $9,600 for two important non-profits making a difference in our community,” said Geoff Horning, Executive Director of the Agri-Business Council of Oregon, which organized the Golf Ball Drop. “Fundraising in the non-profit world is always challenging, and we needed a creative way to draw attention to our causes. This was our most successful year so far.”

“We were thrilled to be included in this year’s fundraiser and share the work our farmers are doing on behalf of so many children and families struggling with hunger, “ said John Burt, executive director of Farmers Ending Hunger.

About Agri-Business Council of Oregon/Adopt a Farmer

This private, non-profit volunteer membership organization founded in 1966, preserves and enhances the vitality of Oregon agriculture. The Adopt a Farmer program launched in 2011-2012 in three Beaverton School District middle schools and allows students to connect with an Oregon farmer for an entire school year to experience life on a farm. The Agri-Business Council hopes to expand this program into more middle schools in Albany, Beaverton, Eugene, Salem and Silverton to reach more than 1,200 students. For more information, please visit www.aglink.org.

About Farmers Ending Hunger

Eastern Oregon resident Fred Ziari created the non-profit Farmers Ending Hunger in 2004 when he learned that Oregon was one of the hungriest states in the country. Farmers Ending Hunger gathers Oregon’s agricultural resources to help feed the hungry. Local family farmers, ranchers and growers donate a portion of the food crops they raise. Adopt-an-Acre, a supplementary program seeks the operating funds necessary to harvest and process those same crops into frozen and canned food products that are easily stored and utilized and distributed to the hungry through Oregon Food Bank’s regional network. For information on how to contribute to Adopt-an-Acre, please visit www.farmersendinghunger.com or call Executive Director John Burt at 503-931-9232. Follow us on Facebook at Farmers Ending Hunger for news and events.

#  #  #

FARMERS ENDING HUNGER RECEIVES $22,000 DONATION FROM PLATE & PITCHFORK TO BRING LOCAL FOOD TO OREGON’S HUNGRY

Plate & Pitchfork tackles serious food issues during 2013 farm-to-table season

PORTLAND, Ore. October 2013 – For the past decade, Plate & Pitchfork has been connecting urban food lovers with local chefs, winemakers and family farmers to experience Oregon’s bounty with a farm tour followed by a gourmet meal. Always eager to support local food and farm programs, Plate & Pitchfork founder Erika Polmar chose Farmers Ending Hunger as the sole beneficiary for the 2013 summer season, raising more than $22,000 for the organization’s work with local hunger relief.

“Plate & Pitchfork has a long history of supporting numerous community organizations each season, but we wanted to make a more significant impact this year and that meant finding just one,” said Polmar. “Farmers Ending Hunger has a creative solution to eradicating hunger in Oregon by working directly with farmers who are growing and harvesting food for donation and utilizing the distribution systems of the Oregon Food Bank. They’ve created a very efficient and effective system to feed the hungry. Although our guests were keenly aware of the hunger problem in Oregon, they were not aware of the impressive efforts by Oregon’s farmers to solve the problem.”

This year, 2.1 million pounds of fresh food will be harvested in Oregon and donated to Farmers Ending Hunger, a 9-year-old nonprofit created to bring nutritious food to those who need it most. Funds raised by its Adopt-an-Acre program are used to harvest, process, store and distribute fresh food donated by dozens of family farms from the Columbia River Basin to the Willamette Valley to Southern Oregon. Once it is processed and packaged into products like frozen and canned vegetables, ground beef and pancake mix, the food is delivered to the Oregon Food Bank’s regional network for distribution in their food relief boxes, along with fresh fruit and vegetables like pears, cherries, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and winter squash.

“Oregon is one of the most productive growing regions in the country and also one of the hungriest,” said Farmers Ending Hunger Executive Director John Burt. “In an average month, 84,000 children in Oregon eat meals from emergency food boxes. Farmers Ending Hunger finds another use for Oregon’s bounty by asking farmers to provide fresh, nutritious food to those who need it the most.”

About Farmers Ending Hunger

Eastern Oregon resident Fred Ziari created the nonprofit Farmers Ending Hunger in 2004 when he learned that Oregon was one of the hungriest states in the country. Farmers Ending Hunger gathers Oregon’s agricultural resources to help feed the hungry. For information on how to contribute to Adopt-an-Acre, please visit www.farmersendinghunger.com or call Executive Director John Burt at 503-931-9232. Follow us on Facebook at Farmers Ending Hunger for news and events.

##

COBANK DONATES $5,000 TO FARMERS ENDING HUNGER

SALEM, Ore. (July 19,  2013) — Farmers Ending Hunger — an organization that delivers high-quality food to Oregon communities through a partnership of farmers, processors, the Oregon Food Bank, and the public – has received a donation of $5,000 from CoBank on behalf of Erik “Rick” Jacobson, a member of the cooperative bank’s Board of Directors.

Farmers Ending Hunger was founded in 2005 to help eliminate hunger in Oregon, where one in five people rely on food stamps. Many of the state’s farmers and ranchers donate a portion of their harvest each year to help the cause. Some of the produce is processed then packaged, while some is delivered fresh to Oregon Food Bank, which distributes the food throughout the state to the people who need it most.

The organization is one of the biggest contributors to the food bank and hunger relief in the state. Ranchers and farmers have donated about 2 million pounds of harvested goods annually to the effort. The organization hopes to double that in the near future.

“Cash donations, including this generous contribution from CoBank, help us defray some of the costs of processing, storing and transporting the vegetables, grain and meat,” said John Burt, executive director of Farmers Ending Hunger. “The number of people using food banks has continued to increase by double digits, and we’re dedicated to the effort to help stem the ongoing need. This all begins with the farmers who stepped right up when they understood the need.”

CoBank’s Jacobson is the retired president and chief executive officer of NORPAC Foods, Inc., an international fruit and vegetable processing and marketing cooperative. He lives in Bend, Oregon, and operates RG Solutions, LLC, a consulting firm. He previously served as a director for Food Alliance, a sustainability certification organization, and Oregonians for Food and Shelter, a farm and forestry legislative advocacy organization.

“Year after year, Oregon has one of the highest levels of need in the nation, and CoBank is happy to be able to support this collaboration that provides fresh, healthy food for those who are unable to afford it,” said Jacobson, a founding board member of Farmers Ending Hunger.  “We’re proud to support the organization and the generous community of farmers that is addressing the problem.”

Jacobson is now serving as general manager for Pendleton Grain Growers in Pendleton, Oregon. The Oregon Wheat League, which is a major contributor to Farmers Ending Hunger, is made up of many members from Pendleton Grain Growers.

The contribution is part of CoBank’s corporate giving program, which allows employees and board members to direct bank donations to their choice of non-profit organizations and programs. Through the program, CoBank donated more than $1.2 million last year to benefit local communities where its employees and directors live and work.

About CoBank

CoBank is a $95 billion cooperative bank serving vital industries across rural America. The bank provides loans, leases, export financing and other financial services to agribusinesses and rural power, water and communications providers in all 50 states. The bank also provides wholesale loans and other financial services to affiliated Farm Credit associations serving approximately 70,000 farmers, ranchers and other rural borrowers in 23 states around the country.

CoBank is a member of the Farm Credit System, a nationwide network of banks and retail lending associations chartered to support the borrowing needs of U.S. agriculture and the nation’s rural economy.

Headquartered outside Denver, Colorado, CoBank serves customers from regional banking centers across the U.S. and also maintains an international representative office in Singapore.

For more information about CoBank, visit the bank’s web site at www.cobank.com

 

###