San Francisco to Yreka, CA & Montebello, CA
By Lis O'Brien July 28, 2020
Between July 27 and July 28, The Farmlink Project helped facilitate a shipment of 80,000 pounds of watermelon from Full Harvest to Heart of Compassion Distribution Food Bank and Siskiyou Community Food Bank.
Based in San Francisco, Full Harvest saves imperfectly shaped and surplus produce from farms and sells it to food and beverage companies through their online marketplace. Full Harvest’s aims to reduce food waste so that one day, zero percent of all edible produce grown goes to waste. The Farmlink Project has worked with Full Harvest in the past, connecting produce such as cucumber, watermelon, pineapple, and honeydew melon to food banks around the country. This delivery of 80,000 pounds of watermelon, however, is the largest deal that The Farmlink Project has carried out with them to date!
On July 27, 40,000 pounds of the watermelon arrived at Heart of Compassion Distribution Food Bank in Montebello, California. Founded in 1993 by Pastor Eric Tietze, HOC repackages food and distributes it directly to community members, food pantries, and ministries in the Los Angeles area. Although the organization focuses on food distribution, they also provide “transitional housing, occupational training, and vocational rehabilitation” to those in need. Currently, HOC serves over 600 families per week, a steep increase from the 45 families they were serving before the pandemic hit.
On July 28, the other 40,000 pounds of watermelon arrived at Siskiyou Community Food Bank in Yreka, California. SCFB, an all-volunteer organization, aims to end hunger in Siskiyou County, a rural mountainous county with about 44,900 total residents. The watermelons delivered to SCFB were distributed using a drive-thru method, where any Siskiyou County resident could drive up and receive watermelons for free. Laura Leach, the Executive Director at SCFB, tells me that their organization serves between 50 to 150 households per week. This includes low-income households, the homeless, senior citizens, veterans, and disabled people—Laura noted, “We do not discriminate.”
Laura explains that SCFB works with numerous nonprofits who will also be picking up and distributing watermelons around Siskiyou County. These organizations include: Free The Need, Siskiyou Food Assistance, Yreka Food Bank, Bethel Assembly of God in Yreka, and the Yreka Community Resource Center. Additionally, the Karuk Tribe will distribute watermelons to tribal members throughout Siskiyou County. SCFB also helps feed the homeless population in Siskiyou by providing them with one meal per day, Monday through Friday.
The Farmlink Project would like to thank Full Harvest for their commitment to rescuing fresh produce and reducing food waste, as well as Heart of Compassion Distribution Food Bank and Siskiyou Community Food Bank for their commitment to reducing food insecurity and providing their communities with access to fresh, nutritious food.
Fun Fact: Did you know that a watermelon is technically a vegetable? It belongs to the cucurbit family, and is related to pumpkins, cucumbers and squash.