Veggie Rescue collects excess produce from local farms, farmers markets and backyards then distributes it directly to schools and organizations serving those in need, at no cost to the recipient.
In late 2010 – armed with a pickup truck – a small but dedicated group of volunteer gleaners and a handful of farmers willing to open their fields filled the first boxes of rescued veggies. By the end of 2011, Santa Ynez Valley Fruit & Vegetable Rescue, or Veggie Rescue as it has come to be known, was officially a Nonprofit Corporation, and had delivered 50,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Today, we still rely on our hard working volunteers along with a small staff including two part-time drivers to collect and deliver hundreds of thousands of pounds of produce throughout Santa Barbara County. We have increased our volume by 30% each year over the last three years, and are continuing on that projectile. Unlike a Foodbank, Veggie Rescue does not warehouse any produce, but delivers fruits and vegetables directly to the recipient organizations, giving us the opportunity to understand their programs, clients and needs and know better the community we serve.
As the organization has grown, Veggie Rescue has nurtured our community in countless other ways, collaborating with organizations like Nature Track, we developed Farm Track, where children can get their hands dirty gleaning, learning about how their food grows and how agriculture depends on a healthy environment.
Students listening to Farmer Abel talk about soil ecology. Photo supplied by Veggie Rescue.
Veggie Rescue has a long-standing and popular “Reach in for Nutrition” program at two local Senior Centers. We have installed reach-in coolers at each location, which we stock with fresh fruits and vegetables, making nutritious food available to those with limited budgets. Photo provided by veggie rescue.