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Fourteen Certified Organic growers and distributors from Portland, Ore.; Southern California; and Nogales, Ariz., are donating more than 34,000 pounds of fresh organic fruits and vegetables to support the victims of the August floods. More than 45,000 Louisiana residents are still in compromised food situations, living in hotels, hostels or temporary housing after their homes were damaged by the flood.
Jessie Gunn, of Nogales-based Wholesum Harvest, began coordinating the effort after seeing only nonperishable food requests on relief websites, and was confident the organic community could do something about it. Ricardo Crisantes, Wholesum Harvest's VP of sales and marketing, helped Gunn make the connections to fill a truck with fresh organic produce. “I hopped on the phone to find a relief agency that could accept and distribute the food and found Second Harvest Food Bank, and it was an immediate 'yes.' They were blown away, and so we set the organic network into action," Gunn said, "In all honesty, it took a total of five phone calls, and three were finding the food bank that could take it." She added that "the rest came together quickly." Organically, to be exact.
With the assistance of David Weinstein, of Los Angeles-based organic distributor Heath & Lejeune, which donated the cooler space and the staff to build the truck, growers were contacted to see who could do what for donations. Tom Lively, of Eugene, Ore.-based Organically Grown Co., heard the idea and immediately sent broadcasting emails to find out what growers in that region could offer. Within two days, the truck was fully committed, with 24 pallets and 34,000 pounds of organic produce, including potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, watermelons, yams, pineapples, celery, broccoli, oranges, apples, strawberries and cucumbers.
Layfayette, La.-based Second Harvest Food Bank will receive its first fresh food delivery truck since the August flooding on Friday, Sept. 9.
The following growers donated at least a pallet of their harvest to aid the relief effort:
- Heath & Lejeune
- Nunes (broccoli and celery)
- Andersen Organics (gold potatoes)
- Tat-On (Russet potatoes)
- Viva Tierra (apples)
- Corona College Heights Citrus (oranges)
- Naturipe (strawberries)
- Dole (pineapples)
- Jim & Deborah Durst (watermelon)
- Deer Creek (valencia oranges)
- Wholesum Harvest (tomatoes, squash and cucumbers)
- Organically Grown Co. (tomatoes, squash and cucumbers)
- Grimmway Farms (carrots)
- AV Thomas Produce (sweet potatoes/yams)