yolo food bank

YoloShines: Yolo Farm-to-Fork

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When the sun shines, so too do our children and, increasingly, those who harvest fresh produce from their school gardens. Enter Yolo Farm-to-Fork (YF2F), another little engine that is making a tremendous impact on our community.

We've had the fortune of supporting YF2F and its programs over the past few years. Pun intended, they are planting seeds for healthy living and regional sustainability. Recently, we engaged Suzanne Falzone, president of the nonprofit, to share more about YF2F.

1. Why does YF2F exist?

Yolo Farm to Fork supports edible school gardens, providing garden- and farm-based education to students because kids love to eat what they grow, creating healthier eating habits in the process. Hands-on learning that starts in the garden easily connects to all areas of the classroom curriculum AND encourages kids to improve their diets with more fresh produce.  We have started and currently sustain 40 public and private elementary school gardens through our “Dig in Yolo” program.  Seven additional schools participate in our “Growing Lunch” project whereby students grow, harvest, weigh, wash and deliver garden fresh produce to their cafeterias for inclusion in school meals by district food service staff.  “Our Go Visit a Farm!” program has provided hands-on learning through farm visits for over 1600 students countywide.  Our ultimate goals are to introduce kids to the joys and skills of growing food in ways that connect to classroom curriculum, and to improve their nutrition and consumption of more fresh produce.

2. In 2017, YF2F ...

Our three programs reach more than 8,000 students in elementary schools throughout Yolo County. We serve preschoolers as well, introducing garden-based learning to Head Start centers in Woodland and West Sacramento. Students in our Growing Lunch project delivered more than 3,200 pounds of fresh produce to their schools’ cafeterias in 2017. College students benefit too as we offer garden internships to students from UC Davis and Woodland Community College – 24 interns to date with a new group oriented at Cesar Chavez Elementary on January 13. (Repower note: Love this ... we have a constant flow of UC Davis interns/employees churning the gears of our company, and our children went to school at Chavez!)

3. Share a YF2F story.

“I helped plant this tree when I was in first grade,” announced Graciela to her apricot-picking team of 4th graders.  “Just pick the ones that are a little bit soft, but not mushy,” she instructed, “mushy ones go in the compost, and leave the hard ones and the green ones on the tree to pick later.”  She led her team to the garden shed, and each of them weighed the bag of apricots they picked while Graciela recorded the weight by each team member’s name.  “We got almost 10 pounds today,” she boasted, following them over to the washing station. The fragrant fruit tempted a tasting before washing, but washing the apricots was fun too, so nearly all the apricots got washed and shared in the classroom.

In Graciela’s school, nearly 90% of the students come from low-income families, eligible for free or reduced cost school meals. Many of them had never tasted a fresh-picked apricot, and sharing the tasting in the classroom resulted in a flood of new adjectives from class, each written on the white board by the teacher along with a journal writing assignment about apricot adventures. Learning that starts in the garden sticks to minds better than apricot juice sticks to fingers.

4. How can people help (monetarily, personally, professionally)?

We invite individual volunteers, business support and monetary donations to join our cause. Healthier kids lead to a healthier future and economy for all of us.  Check out the “get involved” tab on our website: www.yolofarmtofork.org.

For fun AND support, plan to attend our Park Winters Gala on March 19, 2018 – a celebration of Yolo County agriculture with a 5-course gourmet dinner complete with Yolo produced beverages.  All the information can be found on our website or through our Facebook posts. See you at the Gala!

YoloShines: Yolo Food Bank

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Today is MLK Day, a celebration of social justice and a day to reprise the leadership and selflessness of Martin Luther King. A tenet of social justice is hunger: Our society's responsibility to feed those in need. Central to such efforts in our community is the Yolo Food Bank.

We have had the honor, at the request of Repower homeowners, of donating more than $12,000 to Yolo Food Bank over the past few years. We are fortunate to do so and the Food Bank does not disappoint: For every $1 donated, YFB provisions three meals. Amazing.

We engaged YFB's Kevin Sanchez to elaborate:

1. Why does YFB exist?

The Yolo Food Bank exists to ensure that the people of Yolo County not only have enough food to eat, but enough nutritious, culturally appropriate food to feed their families.  YFB is the largest hunger-relief organization in Yolo County and the only organization with the infrastructure in place to receive, sort, store and distribute millions of pounds of food annually to more than 36,000 food insecure people.

2. In 2017, YFB?

In 2017, YFB partnered with over thirty Yolo County Farms to provide more fresh produce to clients.  Over 4.25M pounds of food were distributed and more than 1M pounds was fresh produce.

3. Share a YFB story.

The Walmart Foundation started a Grocery Recovery Program and YFB applied for a grant seeing that Yolo Food Bank wasn't very involved in grocery recovery outside of major distributors. We were awarded a $25,000 grant and used that funding to outfit our partner agencies with items like hand trucks, coolers, scales, refrigerators so they may better handle perishable foods. We then paired them with grocery stores, markets, and other food retailers in Yolo County so that they pick up on a weekly/bimonthly schedule and receive grocery store items directly from the donor, saving the agency money on purchasing items, and enabling them to provide grocery items for their clients that are harder to come by.  By strengthening our partners, we have enabled them to become more self-reliant and better able to serve the needs of their clients.

4. How can people help (monetarily, personally, professionally)?

Yolo Food Bank encourages our community to help in many different ways. Monetary donations are highly sought after since they allow us the flexibility to spend on our most urgent operational needs. Secondly, volunteering is always encouraged. Yolo Food Bank has volunteers who have been with us for over 5 years and volunteers who come on special occasions once a year. We appreciate any and every volunteer that come through our doors. Yolo Food Bank has very flexible volunteer opportunities. We encourage everyone to submit a volunteer application that you can find online at www.yolofoodbank.org/givetime

Community members can volunteer for harvest events throughout the summer. When we do not have enough volunteers, we have no choice but to leave crops in the field, crops that would otherwise be distributed to families in need in Yolo County.

5. The Campaign to End Hunger in Yolo County … overview and update?

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Yolo Food Bank is engaged in a $6M capital campaign to repurpose an industrial building they own into the food bank of the future. When completed, this new facility will increase its dry storage by 2.5 times from our current capacity. A new cold storage facility will handle 8-fold what we currently store and will have multiple temperature zones. At the heart of this new facility will be a commercial kitchen where food will be preserved, processed and repurposed into value-added food products for our programs and a culinary academy, where students will take accredited courses in the culinary arts. The campaign has raised $4.5M in cash and pledges so far and continues to seek out investors to help the Food Bank reach its goal. Construction has begun with the goal of occupying the building in August of 2018.

Please join us and help Yolo -- and the Yolo Food Bank -- shine.

Yolo Shines Today

Today was a great day. We had the pleasure of donating several thousand dollars to local nonprofit organizations, in the name of RepowerYolo homeowners. (When homeowners go solar, we donate $500 to the local charity of their choice; we call this YoloShines.) 

Today our community shined:

Sounds trite, but it's more fun giving away money than making (or spending) money. The essential fabric of our community is strengthened. Please join us in supporting these -- and dozens of other -- worthy organizations in our community.

YoloShines: Yolo Farm to Fork

As we've shared, Yolo Farm to Fork is one of our favorite (most appetizing?) nonprofits. Like many small, scrappy organizations, F2F does a lot with a little, and their impact spans generations.

With our YoloShines program, Repower homeowners select a local nonprofit organization to which we donate $500. When the selected organization is one of our faves, our donation has even more meaning.

To wit, we would like to thank Davis resident Kirk Mills and his family for choosing Yolo Farm to Fork, and we are proud to donate $500. Here's an encapsulation of why the Mills family selected F2F:

The video on Yolo Farm to Fork's website really spoke to our family. We value buying local produce because it's delicious (mostly), but also because we know it has only traveled a short distance to our local store thereby creating less pollution in the traveling process. The idea of schools using local produce is so exciting. Even more exciting is the concept of school gardens. We know first hand how excited our son gets about our garden at home and how it makes him want to eat what he grows. It is truly a gift to see our son so excited about something so beneficial and positive that he will carry through his whole life.

Thank you, Kirk, for making a difference in our community. Please join the Mills family and Repower in supporting Yolo Farm to Fork.

YoloShines: Yolo Food Bank

The next time you have some spare change, consider this: A $1 donation to the Yolo Food Bank will fund three meals for a hungry Yolo County neighbor. Or, the $1 will magnify to $5.50 in wholesale food purchases. Like fresh produce? Your $1 will buy seven pounds of fruits and veggies.

Not to lay on the guilt, but here are two sobering facts to ponder:

- More than 20% (44,000) of Yolo County residents do not have enough to eat.

- One in four children do not know where their next meal will come from.

Enter Yolo Food Bank, one of our favorite community organizations. We have had the fortune of working with the Food Bank over the past year. On behalf of RepowerYolo homeowners, we have donated more than $5,000 to the Food Bank.

The latest: In the name of Repower homeowners Matt and Holly Bishop, Ron and Andrea Forrest, Elaine Lau and Carlton Larson, and Kathleen and Michael Rockwell, we donated $2,000 last week to the Food Bank. That’s 6,000 meals for hungry neighbors thanks to the YoloShines program.

Every dollar makes a difference, and we’re endeavoring to elevate our support for the Food Bank in 2016. Please join us in working to reduce hunger in Yolo County: Click here to donate, or you can learn more about volunteering here.

A great day, leading up to the Big Day of Giving

We have the fortune of helping homeowners go solar. In so doing, there are three particularly gratifying outcomes: Saving homeowners money, improving the environment (through clean energy), and giving back to our community.

Last Wednesday was a great day: We mailed ten $500 checks — $5,000 in total — to local causes, including Yolo Food Bank, Davis Schools Foundation, River City Rowing Club, Yolo Crisis Nursery, Progress Ranch, Davis High Girls Water Polo, and Make it Happen Yolo County.

The donations were made on behalf of RepowerYolo homeowners through our YoloShines program, aka our 2016 Big Year of Giving. Homeowners are not just repowering their homes and benefiting our planet, they’re also repowering our community. For this we are extremely grateful.

Leading up to the May 3 Big Day of Giving, we will share a bit about these tremendous Yolo nonprofits. In so doing, we invite you to join us in supporting the organizations and strengthening the fabric of our community. When you do so, a great day will be yours too!

Sunlight Feeds Yolo’s Hungry

[Originally published May 27, 2015]

In 2014, Repower had the pleasure of supporting more than 25 Yolo County nonprofits. Every time a Yolo County homeowner goes solar with us, we donate money to a local organization. You repower your home with sunlight and we help repower our community. What's not to love?

One of our favorite nonprofits is Yolo Food Bank. Yolo Food Bank feeds 17,000 households each month. This year, when you go solar with Repower, we will donate $500 to Yolo Food Bank in your name. That’s one meal a day for a year: Feed 1,500!

Here’s how we do it:

  1. We perform a no-cost solar analysis to review your PG&E bills and evaluate available roof space to help you determine if solar is a good investment for your home.

  2. We evaluate and explain multiple financing options, including programs with no up-front cash outlay, to help you choose the one that’s best for you.

  3. We manage the entire solar process—design, permitting, installation, and financing—for you.

RepowerYolo leverages the power of group purchasing. Combined with Yolo Food Bank's  buying power - through bulk and wholesale purchasing - Repower saves you $3,000-10,000 on your solar installation and the Food Bank stretches each dollar donated to equal $5.50 in food value. That means that your solar system will give Yolo Food Bank $2,750 worth of food to help wipe out hunger in our community.