In January 2012, the seeds for Farm to Freezer were planted in partnership between Bethesda Cares, whose clients are the chronically homeless and Full Plate Ventures LLC, a sustainable foods consultant. Farm to Freezer addresses a “wonderful problem” that Bethesda Cares faces every summer. This social service organization, who serves hot meals for homeless, receives more local, donated fresh produce than they can use before it spoils.
Farm to Freezer solves the dual problems of local farms’ producing an overabundance of surplus fresh produce in the summer–much of it wasted, and a need to provide those who are hungry or malnourished with more nutrient- rich food all year round.
According to a recent report by the Natural Resource Defense Council, Americans waste 40% of all food produced in this country. Six billion pounds of fresh produce goes unharvested or unsold every year in the U.S. This waste has tremendous detrimental environmental and economic consequences. At the same time one in six Americans do not have a secure supply of food for their table, a term called, “food-insecure”.
In our pilot season, in just four months, we gleaned 5,100 lbs. of organic surplus produce and processed it into frozen tomato sauce and roasted and blanched vegetables that Bethesda Cares turned into meals that served 2,500 clients throughout the winter. With this success, Farm to Freezer launches in 2013 as a for profit social enterprise with a new line of delicious, frozen premium products at competitive pricing while fulfilling multiple needs in the community.