Harvest for All
Farm Bureau’s young farmers and ranchers have worked side by side with Feeding America for the past 10 years to help provide food to those in need around our country through the Harvest for All campaign. More than 50 million Americans – that’s 1 in 6 – including nearly 17 million children, are food insecure, meaning they live at risk of hunger.
Throughout the year, farmers and ranchers across the nation donate food, funds and people power to create a hunger-free America. And whether the contribution is a bushel, a dollar, or an hour, Farm Bureau and Feeding America will be working together to finish an important job: making sure every American can enjoy the bounty produced on our farms and ranches.
In 2013, YF&R programs across the country donated a total of 32,627,920 pounds of food, spent 12,963 hours volunteering, and donated $810,033 to their local food banks.
An initial relationship was forged between the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) and Feeding America (then known as America’s Second Harvest) when AFBF offered its support to Feeding America’s first Hunger Awareness Day on June 5, 2002. Discussions following the event evolved to identify that a separate partnership between Feeding America and AFBF, specifically the Young Farmers & Ranchers (YF&R) Program, would be mutually beneficial.
As the first step in developing this partnership, members of AFBF’s YF&R Committee participated in a service project with Feeding America in November 2002. The event was a success, leading to the announcement of Farm Bureau’s collaboration with Feeding America and the Harvest for All campaign on June 5, 2003, Feeding America’s second annual National Hunger Awareness Day.
The Harvest for All campaign includes activities organized by state and county Farm Bureaus in connection with local Feeding America affiliates across the country. Through the campaign’s 10-year history, YF&R programs across the country have donated their food, money and their time to provide more than 83 million meal equivalents to hungry Americans.
The “Most Innovative” award recognizes five states whose unique Harvest for All activities encourage participation and are programs that can be easily replicated in other states. The 2013 “Most Innovative” states were:
- Illinois – The Illinois Farm Bureau Young Leaders Committee, in cooperation with the Governmental Affairs and Member Benefits departments, set up a “Fill-a-Truck” food drive at their legislative conference. Using social media and mailings to distribute information, members were encouraged to bring nonperishable food items to their Governmental Affairs Legislative Conference, which were then placed in the bed of a new pickup truck at the conference. The “Fill-a-Truck” food drive yielded 532 pounds of food, $271.00, and 27 volunteer hours, all of which were donated to the Central Illinois Food Bank.
- Indiana – The Indiana Farm Bureau Young Farmer Committee partnered with Kids Against Hunger, an organization that packages meals to feed to children who are in need. At their leadership conference, the Young Farmer Committee set up 12 assembly lines in their hotel ballroom, with 12-13 people working each line for an hour. In their three-hour time frame, 310 Indiana young farmer volunteers packaged more than 36,000 meals, which were then distributed to food banks around the state.
- Michigan – The Jackson County Farm Bureau sponsored a “corn hole” tournament at their county fair. Through donations from the county Farm Bureau and other local farms and sponsors, the county young farmer committee built and painted the corn hole boards to be used in the tournament. Participants paid a registration fee to participate, and were broken into five age categories to participate in the tournament. More than 50 Farm Bureau and community members were involved in the competition. Proceeds from the registrations and community donations were then used to purchase an animal at the 4-H livestock auction at the fair, which was then harvested and donated to the Southern Michigan Food bank, totaling 292 pounds of food, $554.00 and 95 volunteer hours for the project.
- New Mexico – The New Mexico Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee instituted a year-long food drive along with other ag organizations around the state. Starting with a Food Week celebration at their legislative conference, the project grew in numbers and scope to include the Women’s Leadership Committee, Collegiate Farm Bureau, New Mexico Cattle Grower’s Association, and many other organizations. The committee culminated their project with a meeting at the Road Runner Food Bank, packaging more than 10,000 meals, and donating a total of 375 pounds of food, $2,500.00, and 56 volunteer hours throughout the year.
- North Carolina – The North Carolina YF&R Committee, along with the state Farm Bureau and collegiate Farm Bureau instituted, a year-long “Take A Shot at Hunger” campaign. The program consisted of three different projects: a shotgun raffle, with tickets sold by collegiate Farm Bureau members and Farm Bureau employees throughout the state; a Sporting Clays tournament that involved YF&R members in a fun and competitive event with a portion of their registration fee donated to Harvest for All; and a food and fund drive which included both canned food drives and produce gleaning projects. In total, the year-long project collected 77,000 pounds of food, $8,400 in donations, and 25 hours of service to food banks around North Carolina.