Pennsylvania to Distribute $255,000 in ‘Farm to Food Banks’ Funding, Redirect Agricultural Surplus to Address Food Insecurity

Pennsylvania to Distribute $255,000 in ‘Farm to Food Banks’ Funding, Redirect Agricultural Surplus to Address Food Insecurity

HARRISBURG, PA — Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding announced that Pennsylvania has been awarded $255,373, from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm to Food Bank Program, which the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture will distribute to the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank to reimburse farmers for costs associated with harvesting, packing, processing, and distributing donated agricultural surplus.

“Long before COVID-19 was a threat to our health and food security in the commonwealth, the federal Farm to Food Bank plan was in the works, modeled after Pennsylvania’s very own agricultural surplus program,” said Secretary Redding. “We’re looking forward to complementing Pennsylvania’s program with this funding, to provide Pennsylvania’s agricultural industry with some financial relief for donating their excess product to the charitable food system.”

Farm to Food Bank is a product of the 2018 federal Farm Bill – based on legislation introduced by Senator Bob Casey and championed by Congressman Glenn Thompson – and was modeled after the Pennsylvania Agricultural Surplus System (PASS), which was enacted into law in 2010 and first funded by Governor Tom Wolf in 2015.

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Pennsylvania’s funds are equitably distributed through the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, a Feeding Pennsylvania member, and their 13 subcontractors to procure surplus agricultural products from Pennsylvania farmers and food processors, The department’s $1.5 million Pennsylvania Agricultural Surplus System serves as a match for the federal Farm to Food Bank Program.

“Pennsylvania’s food banks are grateful to our legislators and the USDA for this generous funding that increases access to nutritious food for families facing hunger,” said Jane Clements-Smith, executive director of Feeding Pennsylvania.  “Farm to Food Bank is modeled after our very own Pennsylvania Agricultural Surplus System and will be the perfect opportunity to support our farmers as well as food-insecure families, especially right now when they need us the most.”

Between April 2016 and April 2020, the PASS program distributed more than 11.9 million pounds of food through the charitable food system in all 67 Pennsylvania counties. This food has served an average of 409,000 households statewide annually.

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For more information on food security in Pennsylvania, visit agriculture.pa.gov/foodsecurity.

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