Sunday
Jan 01
2012
January 1, 2012

Featured Solutions: Hidden Harvest

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Hidden Harvest takes unused produce from local farms and puts on the tables of over 50,000 people every month, helping to increase food access in Coachella Valley, California. 

Founded by: Christy Porter 
Location: Coachella Valley, California 

THE PROBLEM 

California’s Coachella Valley – best known for the golf courses and resorts of Palm Springs – is also home to one of the widest wealth gaps in the country. About 70 percent of children in the Coachella Valley live in poverty, along with nearly a quarter of all adults. And despite the abundance of agriculture, hunger is widespread – especially among those who work in the fields for a living. 

THE SOLUTION 

Valley resident Christy Porter saw the overwhelming need – and devised a local, sustainable way to address it. More than a quarter of all food crops nationally are abandoned due to cosmetic imperfections, overproduction, or market fluctuations in price (the number also holds true in the Coachella Valley). So Christy developed a way to “rescue” this unwanted produce while also providing a living wage to those who harvested it. 

Her organization, Hidden Harvest, then delivers the rescued produce to FIND Food Bank who distributes the food to the local pantries and those who need it, from Desert Hot Springs to Blythe. They provide free, refrigerated delivery to ensure the produce arrives at its freshest. Hidden Harvest also distributes to apartment complexes designated for low-income senior citizens and to local schools with high populations of low-income students. 

THE IMPACT. 

Hidden Harvest... 

• Has rescued over 11 million pounds of produce and fed hundreds of thousands of people since 2001. 

• Provided over 1.2 million pounds of produce in 2011 alone. 

• Serves over 60 local agencies with free produce, including free delivery – reaching 50,000 people each month. 

• Offers 12 Senior Markets per month, providing free produce to over 1,000 low-income senior citizens in each market. 

• Offers free produce markets at local schools, reaching more than 250 families with each market.