A Terrific Article About the Vermont Foodbank’s Kingsbury Farm
by TruexCullins, October 18, 2010
Banking on Fresh
A pioneering partnership brings local produce to Mad River Valley food banks
By Lauren Ober 10.06.10, Photo: Jeb Wallace-Brodeur of Nancy Smith
Wednesdays this summer and fall have been like Christmas at the Kingsbury Market Garden in Warren. That’s when volunteers from area food shelves come to pick up their cases of fresh produce. The bounty can sometimes be overwhelming — on a recent Wednesday, for instance, when the selection makes Ruth Haskins of the Duxbury Elf’s Shelf squeal.
“What do we have today?” she asks farmer Aaron Locker as he carries bins of vegetables to her car. Locker ticks off a list of produce: russet potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, onions. “Oooh, yes!” Haskins says, her face lighting up.
The 178 families her food shelf serves will be thrilled — Locker’s broccoli has been a huge hit with Haskins’ clients. They can’t get enough of it, she says.
If it seems unusual for food-shelf staff to be picking up produce from a local farm much as CSA members collect their weekly allotments, that’s because it is. Most food shelves get their food from federal commodities programs and donations from individuals and businesses. When they offer fresh produce, it often comes from gleaning — collecting leftover crops from farmers’ fields.
The Kingsbury Farm and the 10 food shelves and meal sites of the Mad River Valley have forged a unique partnership in its inaugural year. They’ve teamed up to give families who are at risk for hunger or experiencing it access to fresh produce every week during the growing season. Their link: the Vermont Foodbank.