Hidden Harvest’s mission is to glean or “rescue” produce from Coachella Valley fields and packing houses. The Coachella Valley is one of the largest agricultural regions in the nation. Yet few people realize that millions of pounds of nutritious, locally-grown produce are left behind in packing houses and in the fields after the harvest is complete.
Nationally the USDA estimates between 25% – 30% of all food crops are left in the fields after harvest.
Sometimes the produce is left behind because it has grown too large for its packaging or market fluctuations make it unprofitable for the farmer to harvest. Until Hidden Harvest came along in 2001, tons of healthy food was simply plowed under. In addition, Hidden Harvest retrieves hundreds of thousands of pounds of fresh produce left unsold in packing houses.
Despite the appearance of abundance and wealth in the Coachella Valley, poverty is widespread. More than 80% of the valley’s children live in homes at or below the federal poverty line. The valley also is home to a large population of low-income and fixed income senior citizens. These are among the populations Hidden Harvest serves.
Here are some of the other things they do:
Hidden Harvest is the only organization in the country that pays low-income, experienced farmworkers to glean fields to feed the poor.
They give away rescued produce to more than 60 agencies that serve the poor. The produce they distribute helps in the fight against America’s greatest https://sildenafilhealth.com health care problems — diabetes and childhood obesity. They deliver free in a refrigerated truck, or agencies can pick up the produce themselves at their Coachella facility.
They make a concerted effort to hire female crews when possible and provide a childcare stipend.
Hidden Harvest is the leading resource in the Coachella Valley educating the media and the public about hunger and nutrition issues. Have a question about hunger? Ask Hidden Harvest. They are experienced in community gardening and federal food programs such as:
- National School Breakfast Program
- Summer Food Service Program
- Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Childern (WIC)
- Federal Food Stamp Program
- The Farm Bill
Hidden Harvest provides nutrition and cooking classes, on the theory that it’s not enough to give away produce—clients need to know how it helps them and how to use it. To that end, they offer a “Healthy Me” nutrition curriculum for children preschool through kindergarten age, in addition to other educational programs.
Hidden Harvest runs a non-perishable food bank at our warehouse in Coachella, serving an average 1,200 families a month. They supplement their food boxes with fresh produce. In an unconventional approach, they also deliver food boxes to the neediest residents of rural and remote areas.
To find out more about the wonderful work and programs of Hidden Harvest, including how you can donate extra citrus from your decorative trees visit their website at www.hiddenharvest.org
Also read our Hero of the Week post about founder and director Christy Porter