Harvest from church farms heading to food banks around the country
Oct 27, 2020, 10:51 AM
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is sending out millions of pounds of food grown on their farms around the country to help families affected by the pandemic and natural disasters.
They say the production was up this year at the church-owned farms around the country and many crops saw a surplus in the harvest.
“The Lord blessed us this year with bounteous crops, and as a result, we’re able to distribute these products where they’re most needed,” North America Northeast Area welfare manager Rick Long said.
Church-owned farms in Utah and Idaho grow things like green beans, sweet corn, peaches, pears, apples, wheat, sugar beets and potatoes. California farms grow grapes to dry for raisins. And In Houston, they make peanuts into peanut butter.
“We are seeing a lot of distribution in the western US. In California, we are doing a lot there. We are also doing a lot in the eastern seaboard states. The demand was just so high and they got hit so hard from Covid-19,” Long continued.
The pandemic changed a lot of plans this year, and the farms owned by the church were no exception.
“We had plans of what we were going to do. When the pandemic arrived and we had to adjust, all of our assignments bumped up. Both to meet the additional storehouse needs, but also in our efforts to do what we can to help others outside of the church,” said agriculture production and storage manager Matthew Cox.
Volunteers helped throughout the process the two said. Service missionaries helped gather the crops. Volunteers then processed the harvest at church-owned canneries before being sent to the Bishops’ Central Storehouse in Salt Lake City for distribution.
Now the Church is trucking the food to food banks and local bishop’ storehouses around the country.
“With our efforts to do what we can to not only take care of the Church’s needs but help others, and both that and replenishing some of our inventories that we’ve drawn down a little bit over the pandemic, we think that the demand for our products will be up in the next year,” Cox said.
“We anticipate that we’ll try to keep this elevated pace at least to a certain degree into the coming years,” he said.