If you have been following the news from Multnomah County CROPS you know that things are really growing at the farm. In the last three years the farm has generated 15 tons of fresh local produce, valued in excess of $75,000, for the Oregon Food Bank (and the 2011 harvest is not over). Based on information collected for each vegetable from USDA nutrition data, the 15 tons harvested is equivalent to over 200,000 servings of healthy organic produce!

All of the farm’s harvest is donated to SnowCap Community Charities, one of the largest food pantries in the Oregon Food Bank network. According to Heather Lantz, SnowCap’s Childhood Hunger Specialist, the food pantry on average serves 100 families a day, Monday-Friday or 10,000 people per month. The local produce donated by CROPS and others is a key component of the food pantry’s offerings because of the important nutritional value, especially for growing children. And also because of the often prohibitive cost of fresh vegetables that their patrons may otherwise forego. SnowCap’s Warehouse Manager, Dave Rucker, says, “The struggling economy has definitely had a negative impact on food donations received (due to many factors), making every donation count. Our patrons are impressed and appreciate the variety of fresh veggies we have on the shelf.” SnowCap also offers easy to follow delicious recipes for those vegetables that may not be familiar to everyone. The OSU Extension Service even does live cooking demonstrations of these recipes regularly at the food pantry!

In just three years the CROPS farm has fed a serving of healthy vegetables to more than 200,000 people. This is achieved using otherwise fallow county land and minimal resources to do so. While these efforts do not solve the problem of food security for our residents in need, the numbers do add up and are making a difference.