Fresh from the farm
Each growing season there are hundreds of tonnes of fruits and vegetables tilled back under the ground by farmers across the country. While this food is still nutritious, it for any number of reasons has become deemed unsalable. Given this reality of farming, the London Food Bank has developed relationships with many local farmers and has offered them an alternative to discarding the produce that they have worked hard to grow.
In the 2017 growing season, these relationships resulted in nearly 200 000 pounds of fresh, local fruit and vegetables being donated to the London Food Bank by farmers in the London area.
Rescuing fresh food
Community Harvest has evolved from its beginnings of a focus on produce directly from the farm to include collecting donations at farmers' markets, accepting fresh vegetables from local gardeners (including through the Plant a Row, Grow a Row initiative), and in 2017 we started to rescue produce from local grocery stores.
Since the Community Harvest program's inception in 2010, we have rescued nearly 1.7 million pounds (771 tonnes) of produce, with about 38% of those donations being shared with other agencies in the London region and across Ontario. Not only has this rescued food gone to families in need of assistance, it has also avoided nearly 1500 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions (CO2-e) by diverting perfectly edible food from becoming landfill.
At times farmers have offered the opportunity for volunteers to visit their farm to harvest surplus produce for the food bank. These "harvest mobs" are a great way for you to become involved with the food bank. High-school volunteer hours are available and families are welcome to join in.
If you are interested in becoming involved with a harvest mob, please visit our volunteer page and check off “Special Events” when you add your name to our mailing list.
Growing our own food
The London Food Bank established raised beds for growing vegetables in 2015. Each growing season we have volunteers assist with preparing the beds, planting seeds and seedlings, and caring for the plants throughout the rest of the year. All the food harvested from our gardens is brought inside for distribution to our clients. In 2017, we planted twenty fruit trees on our property to establish the first phase of our food forest.
If you are interested in helping in the gardens or the food forest, please visit our volunteer page and check off “Helping in the garden” when you add your name to our mailing list.