We've Got the Food!
Over 8,000 people, nearly 25% of our county's population, depend on the Food Banks to provide the food they need to survive. Many food banks in the country don't even offer fresh produce, but the Food Bank Farm and Gardens of Jefferson County, WA, has a solution: hardworking volunteers-including students-raising organic produce in community gardens. Last year the Food Bank Gardens produced over 8,000 pounds of vegetables for the Jefferson County Food Banks. Gleaners added nearly 12,000 pounds of fruit.
One day's harvest from one of our six gardens.
The Good and the Not-So-Good
This means that the 25% of Jefferson County residents living at or below the poverty level can have access to the best quality produce available anywhere. It also means that at harvest time, when tons of this beautiful produce come into the food banks, there's more than people can use before it spoils.
Currently the leftover produce is sent to compost, but we think there's a better way to use it: freeze drying some of it before it spoils.
What Will Freeze Drying Do?
Freeze drying wasn't an option until recently because the machines necessary were huge (and super expensive), intended for large commercial purposes. Now smaller, "home" size machines are available, and Food Bank Farm and Gardens of Jefferson County plans to buy two of them. Volunteers will be able to freeze-dry up to 2500 pounds of fresh produce and fruit that can be easily stored without refrigeration for up to 25 years, and reconstituted with water. Freeze drying preserves about 96% of the original fresh food value (vs about 75% for canned food), so it's extremely healthy, too.
Emergency Food Supply
An added advantage for a county likely to be isolated if the predicted big earthquake happens: freeze dried food will be a mainstay of community emergency stores.
Expected processing capacity: about 2,500 lbs. fresh food annually
Expected production capacity: about 546 gallons of freeze dried food annually
Life span of the freeze dryer >10 years (similar to a refrigerator or freezer)
Manufacturer Harvest Right, Salt Lake City, UT
Your donation in any amount will help reach the goal and get two freeze dryers saving fresh food for people who need it. Right now a generous donor has agreed to match up to $5,000 in donations, so you can double your donation! We're a 501(c)(3) public charity, so your donation is tax deductible.
Freeze dryers, including shipping and oil free pump: $5,000 each
Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers: $250.00 (necessary for maximum shelf life)
Electricity: $250.00/yr each unit
Costs to add dedicated 20A 120V service line to donated commercial kitchen space: $500.00/each location
Total: $6,000.00 per unit
Your donation can help make sure locally grown vegetables and fruits are available all year long to the 8,000 people our food bank serves, and ensure that good food doesn't wind up in the compost bin.
- Kris Quandt
- Janis Taylor
- Trish Drew
- WP Lyssie Burden
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