Second Harvest of the Big Bend Food Bank Announces New Initiatives
Tallahassee, FL – March 1, 2022–Second Harvest food bank is pleased to announce several new environmental sustainability initiatives and community partnerships underway and in development for 2022.
“Sustainability is key to ending hunger, and environmental sustainability initiatives are an important part of our mission to advance change by educating and engaging the community in the fight to end hunger,” said Second Harvest CEO Monique Van Pelt. “This year, with tremendous support from our Feeding America network, local government and environmentally aware businesses and organizations, we’re taking great leaps forward with these efforts.”
- Feeding America Protein Hub — In 2022, Feeding America is investing in Second Harvest food bank to develop a “clean room” in their warehouse to process donated protein product. Second Harvest will serve as one of only 20 Feeding America “protein hubs” nationwide, sourcing and collecting excess protein from the poultry, beef, pork and lamb industries that would otherwise go to waste and end up in landfills. Volunteers will repackage this bulk protein product in portions that will be made available to the food bank’s partner agencies for distribution to clients, helping ensure their protein nutritional needs are met.
- Large-Scale Composting — In 2022, Second Harvest will begin large-scale, onsite composting. This will allow the food bank to recycle thousands of pounds of box and paper waste from the warehouse. Additionally, they will partner with local nurseries to provide free “brown” material (such as wood mulch) and with regional retailers to provide free “green” material (such as fresh fruit peelings) that are required for the recycling process. Second Harvest mulch will be used in their new, onsite educational gardens, and possibly also made available for resale at local nurseries to help provide funding for the food bank.
- Agricultural Education — As part of Second Harvest’s mission to educate and engage the community, and in cooperation with Leon County government, Second Harvest obtained their first beehive in February 2022. It is currently being hosted by the Lott Family at Lott’s Community Garden, and will be relocated to Second Harvest’s new agricultural education garden and orchards, currently in development, later this year. They anticipate adding additional hives and producing Second Harvest honey onsite. The hives will help pollinate Second Harvest’s planned orchard and raised-bed produce gardens, and will be incorporated into agricultural education initiatives with local schools and other organizations.
- Habitat for Humanity: Second Harvest has partnered with Habitat for Humanity to provide families with “kick-start kits” containing non-food household items to help reduce the expenses of moving in. This supports families being re-housed in our community by providing them with move-in essentials (in addition to fresh and nutritious food).
- Hope 24/7 Grocery Locker Program: Second Harvest received a grant from the Florida Blue Foundation to install temperature-controlled grocery lockers in rural Madison, Gulf and Liberty counties to help working families have consistent access to nutritious food. These counties experience some of the highest rates of food insecurity in our service area. These food lockers will not only diversify our distribution, but also deepen our relationships and impact in these areas.
- Snack Packs: The food bank has partnered with Whole Child Leon to offer select youths a healthy snack alternative, including an encouraging note to the children reminding them of their worth and value to our community.
- Publix Retail Produce Partnership: Publix delivers a full truckload of fresh fruits and vegetables to Second Harvest every Tuesday. This helps to ensure that the food bank has fresh, healthy produce available to our partner agencies and for mobile pantry distributions.