Berwick, PA – US Senator Bob Casey today joined Feeding Pennsylvania at Brian Campbell Farms in Columbia County to discuss the PASS program, TEFAP, and opportunities for more farmers to benefit from federal funding while delivering nutritious PA Grown food to low-income families.
Brian Campbell Farms is one of more than 165 farms in Pennsylvania to participate in the Pennsylvania Agricultural Surplus System (PASS) — a program administered by Feeding PA on behalf of the PA Department of Agriculture. PASS connects the nonprofit sector to farms and food processors to help solve problems of hunger and food waste.
PASS was piloted in Pennsylvania in 2008, passed into law in 2010, but was not funded until the Wolf Administration took office in 2015. Initially funded at $1 million, the PASS program appropriation is now $2.5 million thanks for the advocacy of our food banks and agriculture partners. PASS helps food banks secure farm fresh food that might otherwise go to waste by covering the costs associated with harvesting, packaging, transporting, and processing of surplus products.
In FY20-21, PASS had a general appropriation of $1.5 million, but was also funded with $10 million in additional CARES Act funding, which was spent over 6 months with PA Farmers and Processors – proving to be a win-win, supporting small farmers while also supporting the charitable food network and delivering farm fresh food to families in need.
“Pennsylvania is rich in agriculture, producing an abundance of fresh and nutritious food, and yet there are still 2 million Pennsylvanians struggling with hunger every day, nearly 500,000 of whom are children,” said Jane Clements, Chief Executive Officer, Feeding Pennsylvania. “Feeding Pennsylvania is grateful for Senator Casey’s commitment to discussing these programs that will ensure that all Pennsylvanians have access to this healthy and nutritious food and provide funding to food banks in order to access surplus product to be distributed to our mosz1qt vulnerable neighbors in need.”
In addition to the $10 million in CARES Act funding, USDA exercised authority under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to purchase and distribute agricultural products to those in need through the Farmers to Families Food Boxes. Through this program, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) partnered with national, regional, and local distributors to purchase up to $6 billion in fresh produce, dairy, and meat products from producers of all sizes. Distributors packaged these products into family-sized boxes, then transported them to food banks, community and faith-based organizations, and other non-profits serving Americans in need.
Brian Campbell Farms was successful in several bids for the Farmers to Families Food Boxes and has since became a strong partner with Feeding PA, building produce boxes for food banks using PASS Funding and supporting several smaller growers who were often too small to benefit from the federal program.
“The benefits of participating in programs like PASS are twofold — it supplements other financial support for producers while providing nutritious products to Pennsylvania families,” said Brian Campbell of Brian Campbell Farms. “It’s about the opportunity to provide fresh produce to our neighbors in need while educating PA growers on food insecurity right in their communities. We look forward to working together to build upon the successes of USDA’s Farmers to Families Food Box Program to continue addressing this critical issue in Pennsylvania.”
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Corinne Foster, Community Manager, Feeding Pennsylvania
P: 717-724-3182| E: firstname.lastname@example.org
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About Feeding Pennsylvania:
Feeding Pennsylvania is a collaborative effort of nine Feeding America-affiliated food banks in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The mission of Feeding Pennsylvania is to promote and aid our member food banks in securing food and other resources to reduce hunger and food insecurity in our communities and across Pennsylvania and to provide a shared voice on the issues of hunger and food access within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. For more information about Feeding Pennsylvania, please visit www.feedingpa.org, connect with us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FeedingPennsylvania, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram @FeedingPA.