Los Banos, CA
By Whitney Davis
June 8, 2020
Last weekend The Farmlink Project connected with Owyhee Produce, a three-generation farm sourcing onions and potatoes from Oregon, Idaho, and California. Through mutual connections within The Farmlink Project team we were able to get in contact with Shay, a farmer at Owyhee who travels from Idaho to California for 1-2 months in the year to check-up on their internal operations. The Farmlink Project worked with Shay in the beginning of April during the initial wave of the COVID-19 outbreak to establish one of the very first outreach deals and working with Shay again in June has allowed our partnership to deliver more than 90,000 pounds of onions to those in need with over 300,000 pounds planned in the next two weeks.
On June 2nd, our team worked alongside Owyhee to transport 40,000 onions from Shay’s farm in San Jose to The Armory, a nearby food bank in the area. Utilizing Uber Freight, the transport hauled the onions in what Shay called a FTL: a full truck load. Upon arriving at The Armory, a team of forces came together to finish up the delivery when an unexpected bump in the road left the location without a forklift. Nevertheless, by coming together with a variety of outlets and contacts, a Farmlink Project team member's friend’s dad was able to be a last minute hero by watching a crash course on “How to Drive a Forklift” to ensure the onions made it inside the food bank safely.
As Owyhee Produce moves forward alongside The Farmlink Project, we already have more deliveries outlined for the future: four to San Antonio, one to Southern California, and a half to San Diego. Connecting with Owyhee Produce has allowed The Farmlink Project to be the missing link during times of uncertainty to ensure produce makes it into the hands of those most in need. Linking farmers to food banks is only a small part of our larger mission to mitigate food waste, and meeting with farmer’s like Shay and bridging new relationships everyday is what makes what we do worth it.