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August 4, 2020
Giving Back: Katarah Jordan and Second Harvest Food Bank
Second Harvest Food Bank of the Lehigh Valley and Northeast Pennsylvania provides food to a vast network of nonprofits, with a focus on providing the healthiest, freshest foods possible. Second Harvest is a program of the Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley.
In addition to food distribution, the food bank operates a number of programs that nourish and strengthen the community, including The Seed Farm, which provides new farmers with valuable, practical experience and skills on a training farm. The Backpack Buddies, SUNShine Box, and MilitaryShare programs provide supplemental nutrition for children, seniors, and active duty and veteran families. The Cooking Matters™ nutrition education program provides children and families with the knowledge and skills needed to eat healthy on a budget. Second Harvest also administers SNAP (food stamp) outreach and application assistance.
The Second Harvest network is providing more food assistance than ever before. Throughout the crisis, it has been difficult to find food to buy; supply is low and prices have skyrocketed. Second Harvest changed some things to ensure that food distribution does not stop and food gets out to the people who need it. They packed emergency boxes in their warehouse for the first time and created distribution hubs in the community. “The support of the community has helped us move mountains,” says Katarah.
How to Help
The best way to help Second Harvest right now is with a monetary donation. Donated funds ensure that the shelves in their pantry network stay well stocked now and in the months to come.
Key Stats and Facts
• SHFB’s network includes 200+ nonprofit agencies including emergency food pantries, homeless shelters, childcare agencies, and others.
• 60,000 people served each month, 50% of which are seniors or children
• Serving the six counties of Carbon, Lehigh, Monroe, Northampton, Pike, and Wayne
• 11 million pounds of food distributed last year
Cultivating The Next Generation of Farmers
A Program of Second Harvest Food Bank and Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley, The Seed Farm provides new farmers with valuable, practical experience and skills on their training farm in Emmaus, PA, as well as the opportunity to launch sustainable farm businesses in their innovative farm incubator. They’re growing new farmers and growing the local food economy in the Lehigh Valley.
Initially developed by Lehigh County and Penn State Cooperative Extension, The Seed Farm was formed in order to help support the County’s farmland preservation program by cultivating the next generation of farmers to take over the region’s preserved farmland.
Since 2010, The Seed Farm has provided training in production, marketing, business planning, and equipment operation to beginning farmers who are looking to start farms. To date, 33 beginning farmers have received intensive, full-season training in higher-level farm ownership skills; and ten farm businesses have been launched in the farm incubator.
Experiential and educational activities have enabled The Seed Farm to deliver valuable skills in sustainable agriculture practices to hundreds of farmers, gardeners, and community members. In addition to their programming, The Seed Farm’s annual Farm-to-Fork Fundraiser and Spring Plant Sale are much-anticipated events that bring together foodies, farmers, and gardeners in support of a shared goal: ensuring the future of agriculture.
The Farm Incubator provides new farm entrepreneurs with affordable access to land, infrastructure, equipment, and mentoring, in order to lower the barriers to farm entry.
New Farmer Training provides practical, hands-on experience on The Seed Farm’s working and educational farm, preparing a new generation of farmers for farm ownership.
The CSA Workshare program provides community members with an introduction to agriculture, working directly with an experienced farmer. The produce that is harvested is sold through an exclusive Community Supported Agriculture partnership with St. Luke’s Hospital.