Author: Nita Kurmins Gilson, Executive Director, ProduceGood
As an essential service provider, ProduceGood has continued to recover fresh fruit and vegetables from local growers during the stay-at-home orders to feed the hungry and divert edible organics from the landfill.
To do this, they created specific new safety protocols and adjusted their food recovery operations to use smaller crews of volunteer gleaners with more frequency. ProduceGood has been able to quickly pick or collect the crops (from groves and farmers) and transport their bounty to the food insecure of San Diego.
Even though the Farmers Markets are not yet fully operational, ProduceGood has been harvesting almost 6,000 lbs. of produce a week (double their usual) to provide 30 feeding agencies with 18,000 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables.
They have also partnered with Urban Corps of San Diego to continue their gleaning work every weekend, through a grant from CalRecycle.
“I am so grateful for the picking program we have with ProduceGood,” said Felix Velasco, a supervisor with Urban Corps. “It doesn’t feel like work, being in the orchards picking fruit. Even though our first day in February was rainy and muddy, the team has stayed together because we love the program so much and never want it to end.”
This year, Velasco and his crew have harvested over 216,000 servings of citrus and avocados through ProduceGood’s Orchard Upcycler program.