Press Release
Del Monte Foods Partners with Wisconsin Growers, Suppliers and Second Harvest on Innovative Foodbank Program

According to Feeding America, one out of six Americans, one out of five children and about three million senior citizens lack adequate access to affordable and nutritious foods. This equates to approximately 47 million people considered to be food insecure. The urgency is acute and screams for more innovative approaches to help fill the shelves of foodbanks. One such idea emerged at meeting back in 2010 in Madison, Wisconsin between Professor Jed Colquhoun from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, fresh produce companies, Del Monte Foods and other processors, a group of Wisconsin growers, and Second Harvest, a subsidiary of Feeding America, the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity. The group brainstormed how they could grow vegetables specifically to meet the needs of the central Wisconsin foodbank network. Colquhoun brought to light that, “In Wisconsin, one in eleven households is food insecure...Yet Wisconsin also boasts one of the most robust agricultural production systems in the country…We need to connect this currently untapped supply of nutritious food with our neighbors in need, and we have the capacity to make this connection.” With three processing plants in central Wisconsin and relationships with a vast network of growers, Del Monte Foods decided to be the first to step up to the plate and help coordinate the efforts of people and organizations representing many different interests. Del Monte collaborated with ten contracted growers including Mortenson Brother Farms, Patrykus Farms and Paul Miller Farms, twelve trucking companies, one custom harvest company and Silgan can suppliers to provide Second Harvest with non-aged packaged food at a cost effective price. Each entity donated time, labor and product to drastically cut the cost of product for Second Harvest. Mike Johnson from Del Monte’s field department orchestrated the first successful run at the Plover, Wisconsin processing facility. Thus planting the seeds for a coordinated effort called the “Field to Foodbank” program to grow. In just two years, the program has grown more than anyone could have expected. In the program’s inaugural year, Del Monte processed 3,000 cases of carrots for Second Harvest. In 2012, efforts expanded to provide 6,000 cases of sweet corn and carrots to Second Harvest, and in 2013 it grew to 14,000 cases of raw green beans, sweet corn and carrots. Del Monte hopes to continue this program and has donated over 47 million pounds of product to the Feeding America network since 2000. To learn more about the partnership between Del Monte and Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin, click http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=kKMVw9zZj-0.

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