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Verbatim: Food bank asks farmers, gardeners to share harvest, livestock

Article from Journal Gazette

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Dean Musser Jr. | The Journal Gazette

Mike Talbott, extension educator with 4-H Youth Development, announces hat 4-H youth are asking that the animals sold at fair auctions be given to community food banks to feed the hungry. With him are Jane Avery, executive director of Community Harvest Food Bank, along with Joey and Jimmy Corbat with their sheep.

(Fort Wayne, IN) Community Harvest Food Bank is again asking farmers and area gardeners to share some of their bountiful harvest with neighbors in need this growing season.

The increase in demand for food assistance due to the current economic crisis is making it a challenge to keep the food bank warehouse shelves stocked. Encouraging farmers and gardeners to donate a portion of their produce or livestock will go a long way to help feed hungry citizens in northeast Indiana and may be tax deductible.

Jane Avery, Executive Director, Community Harvest Food Bank proposes that farmers and gardeners plan for a surplus harvest

"Plant some for those less fortunate. By planting an additional acre of green beans, potatoes or sweet corn and donating it to Community Harvest you'll help make hungry lives less desperate. By donating surplus fruits and vegetables to the food bank that you might otherwise give to your co-workers or neighbors, you are providing good nutritious food for area hungry who are less likely to purchase food of that quality.

Providing good nutrient-rich foods that improve mental and physical well being and overall quality of life is a focus for Community Harvest and we'd like to get the message out to farmers and gardeners large and small that they can indeed make a big difference to those in need."

Deb Treesh, Coordinator, Farmers & Hunters Feeding the Hungry (FHFH) said, "We just want to encourage area growers to help feed lower income families in our area by doing what they do best. And it doesn't have to just be crops. We also encourage farmers and hunters to deliver livestock and large game to participating butchers who will process and donate them to Community Harvest."

This appeal is also going out to area sponsors who purchase 4-H County Fair winning livestock. County Fair 4-H Livestock Auction committees are getting the word out to all 4-H Fair participants and sponsors in Noble, Steuben, LaGrange, DeKalb, Huntington, Allen, Wells, Whitley and Adams counties to donate their winning livestock to Community Harvest via a participating butcher.

Mike Talbott, Extension Educator with 4-H Youth Development says, "It makes perfect sense to combine the success of young 4-H livestock producers who exhibit and sell their animals with those buyers who then donate the animals to people who can best use the meat."

Avery says, "Farmers should talk to their accountant for tax deduction opportunities. And we encourage anyone who has a bushel of green beans, a box of green peppers, a bag of cucumbers or a truckload of apples, just any nutritious fruits and vegetables, to share them with the hungry in this area. Last year we had a darling little boy not more than 5 years old deliver a basket of tomatoes to us every Monday. It's something everyone with a garden can do. And it helps so much!"

Community Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Indiana, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the alleviation of hunger through the full use of donated food and other resources. As the largest food bank in northeast Indiana, it collects and distributes over 10 million pounds of donated, surplus food annually through a network of human service member agencies. For more on Community Harvest, visit www.communityharvest.org.

4-H is a community of more than six million young people across America learning leadership, citizenship, and life skills. National 4-H Council is the private sector, non-profit partner of National 4-H Headquarters (USDA). The 4-H programs are implemented by the 106 Land-Grant Universities and the Cooperative Extension System through their 3,100 local Extension offices across the country. Learn more about 4 H at www.4-H.org.

Farmers and Hunters feeding the Hungry encourages farmers and hunters to donate livestock and large game to participating butchers The butchers will then process and package the meat and contact Community Harvest Food Bank to pick up and distribute the meat to those in need. The butcher then sends FHFH a bill to pay for the butchering fees which they typically reduced by about 30%. Visit www.fhfhin6.org for more information and a list of participating butchers.

Allen County 4-H Livestock Auction – July 27, 2009

Fort Wayne, IN - The 2009 Allen County 4-H Livestock Auction will provide an opportunity for over 240 young people to sell a 4-H animal and will give the local community the opportunity to provide much needed meat for the Community Harvest Food Bank. The Auction will begin at 12:30 p.m. on July 27, 2009, at the Allen County Fairgrounds.

Last year was the first time that 4-H and the Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry programs had worked together to promote to 4-H animal buyers that they could donate their animals to benefit others. Those animals would be processed and given to people who need fresh meat in their diet, but cannot afford it. Eleven animals were purchased and donated in 2008 by thirteen different businesses and individuals. They donated $6,195 to the 4-H members for the support of those animals.

The goal for 2009 would be to double the amount of animals that are being donated, and possibly include at least one market steer. In 2008, there were 2 goats and 9 pigs purchased and donated. The cost of the steer, because of size of the animal, would be more substantial, than the smaller pig or goat.

Buyers will be given the option to donate sheep, cattle, pigs and goats at the Allen County 4-H Livestock Auction. The Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry will take the animals to predetermined local meat processors, who are paid a minimal fee. The meat is then given to the Community Harvest Food Bank for distribution through their network to Allen County distribution sites.

This program will also be available at surrounding county 4-H livestock auctions, usually held at the end of the county fair. Potential buyers should contact their local County Extension Office to determine how they can participate and help provide much needed meat for hungry families in Northeast Indiana.

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