PASS program lauded as aid to both those in need of food and farmers

TOWAMENCIN — Gov. Tom Wolf’s price range proposal to add $2 million to the Pennsylvania Agricultural Surplus Program (Pass) is a great investment decision, supporters said Wednesday at Yard of Health’s backyard garden in  Harleysville.

“We definitely want to make guaranteed that very good, nutritious food items is available to family members in the commonwealth. We also will need to make positive we’re bolstering this aspect of our economy,” explained state Rep. Liz Hanbridge, D-61st. Dist. “Making confident that we have excellent farms that are perfectly-taken care of and that we have acquired accessibility to food for people is also a superior way to maintain the land.”

Throughout the pandemic, there have been many phone calls from people dealing with food instability for the initial time, she claimed.

“PASS connects the nonprofit sector to farms and foods processors to assistance resolve problems of hunger and food squander,” the Pennsylvania Division of Agriculture mentioned in a launch. “The system money the harvest, transportation, processing and packaging of surplus meals from Pennsylvania farms that is possibly deliberately planted for donation or would usually go to waste.”

The food stuff is distributed via a agreement with Feeding Pennsylvania and a network of 13 regional, charitable foodstuff distributors, the facts explained.

State Rep. Liz Hanbridge, D-61st Dist., speaks at Back garden of Health’s backyard garden. (Bob Keeler – MediaNews Group)

Garden of Health, which supplies create and other healthful foodstuff to meals pantries, Meals on Wheels, weekend backpacks and other businesses in Montgomery and Bucks counties assisting persons with foodstuff insecurities, has in the earlier 18 months donated 6,500 lbs of create into Go for community distribution.

“We started out performing with the Pass plan in 2020. We are incredibly psyched to get the job done with them,” Backyard of Overall health founder and COO Carol Bauer stated. “They reimburse us for the generate that we donate back to the meals pantries. That income assists us recoup our prices here and makes it possible for us to keep on to mature year soon after calendar year.”

In 2020, Backyard of Health distributed extra than 200,000 lbs of develop that it grew or that was donated by farmers, Bauer mentioned.

She encouraged farmers to use Move and donate to food items pantries.

“We want to get much more balanced foods and contemporary generate to men and women,” Bauer said. “We imagine that just for the reason that you need foodstuff aid shouldn’t necessarily mean that you don’t have the means to pack refreshing produce and support your household with wholesome meals.”

Along with giving food for all those in will need, Back garden of Wellness also teaches people today how to develop their personal natural deliver, she said.

“We’re so grateful to have a partner like this who seems at this as a authentic option to not only feed individuals, but instruct people about the method of expanding their very own food,” claimed Feeding Pennsylvania CEO Jane Clements.

Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Cheryl Cook speaks at Yard of Health’s back garden. (Bob Keeler – MediaNews Group)

Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Cheryl Prepare dinner claimed every point out must have a Go program.

Previous calendar year, federal stimulus funding throughout the pandemic was employed to insert to the Go funds, she explained.

“We obtained millions of further dollars in the Move method, managed them responsibly, served an terrible lot of folks, aided farmers who were instantly dropping their college markets and other marketplaces basically right away as enterprises had been closing down and universities have been closing down,” Cook mentioned.

Move has great probable to preserve growing, she reported.

Feeding Pennsylvania CEO Jane Clements speaks Feb. 16 at Garden of Health’s backyard in Towamencin. (Bob Keeler – MediaNews Team)

A the latest research by Penn State located that each and every dollar invested in Go returns $2 to the state’s agriculture sector, Clements stated.

“Under the Wolf Administration, Go has distributed more than 22 million lbs . of surplus food stuff from farmers to Pennsylvanians in need, whilst simultaneously generating more than $39 million in economic output,” the PDA launch explained.

About 10,000 lbs of produce is lifted per 12 months at Backyard of Health’s current 1-acre yard, Bauer said.

Backyard of Wellbeing will be relocating to an virtually 8-acre property donated to Hatfield Township by Clemens Foodstuff Team, with get the job done there beginning this summer time or tumble aiming to have the to start with food developed in 2023.

“We’re seriously searching forward to that,” Hatfield Township Commissioner Deborah Zimmerman explained. “There’s a ton of volunteers in Hatfield already anxious to arrive out and help her and we’re just really satisfied that Carol approached us and that we had been in a position to perform this out because it is a excellent trigger.”

Hatfield Township Commissioner Deborah Zimmerman speaks at the Back garden of Health and fitness backyard. (Bob Keeler – MediaNews Team)