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Giant Food, BrightFarms And Food Bank Using Supply Chain To Fight Hunger

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Last updated on June 13th, 2024 at 05:01 pm

A retailer, a grower and a food bank are getting more quality fresh produce flowing into underserved communities throughout the Washington, D.C., metro region by cutting out the middle man altogether.

BrightFarms, a startup company creating a national brand of local produce, has begun donating greens directly to the Capital Area Food Bank (CAFB) through a partnership brokered by Giant Food.new-brightfarms

“Getting moms, dads and families access to fruits and vegetables is critical for the health of the communities we’re serving,” said Nancy Roman, president and CEO of CAFB. “Strong and innovative partnerships like this one are a big part of how we’re doing that.”

To kick off the donation partnership, BrightFarms brought more than 6,400 pounds of fresh arugula, spring mix and lettuce greens to CAFB. Sourced directly from the 150,000-s.f. BrightFarms Capitol Greenhouse in Elkwood, Virginia, the greens soon will be in the homes and on the plates of area families who lack the resources needed to purchase food, particularly fruits and vegetables.

“Our donation to CAFB is part of an ongoing partnership dedicated to improving the health of the local community through access to just-harvested, locally grown produce,” said Paul Lightfoot, CEO of BrightFarms. “By growing produce in our state-of-the-art greenhouse in northern Virginia, we are able to provide both Giant and the CAFB with the freshest herbs, tomatoes and baby greens on a year-round basis. We look forward to continuing to support the CAFB in their efforts to give people access to good, healthy food.”

CAFB provides food to 540,000 area residents—12 percent of the region’s total population. Of those it serves, nearly half have high blood pressure or live with someone who does; another quarter are diabetic or living with a diabetic. The health concerns of its clients prompted the food bank to emphasize the sourcing and distribution of produce, especially given that 70 percent of households served by the CAFB reported “purchasing inexpensive, unhealthy” food as the common coping strategy to hunger in a 2014 study. In 2015, fully one-third of all food distributed by the CAFB was fresh fruits and vegetables.

Weekly donations of ready-to-eat greens delivered directly from the BrightFarms greenhouse will help CAFB continue to provide a balanced offering of foods to those it reaches, contributing to community wellness.

“Giant Food is consistently looking for ways we can help provide access to healthy food for those who are food insecure in our region,” said Gordon Reid, president of Giant Food in Landover, Maryland. “This donation from BrightFarms shows the impact organizations can have when they come together to help our neighbors in need throughout this region.”

BrightFarms will grow nearly one million pounds of baby greens, basil and tomatoes in its greenhouse per year to supply 169 Giant Food and one Martin’s supermarket, as well as online grocery service Peapod, in Virginia, Maryland, D.C. and Delaware. Its produce is pesticide and GMO free.

About the author

Shelby Team

The Shelby Report delivers complete grocery news and supermarket insights nationwide through the distribution of five monthly regional print and digital editions. Serving the retail food trade since 1967, The Shelby Report is “Region Wise. Nationwide.”

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