Food banks growing own goods as donations decline

Food banks growing own goods as donations decline

February 21, 2017
in Category: Food Banks

Food banks growing own goods as donations decline

Food banks are looking to alternative solutions to help augment declining fresh produce donations.“We have no farms in Mississauga, so unlike my counterparts in other areas of Ontario, who have more fresh than they can handle, we don’t get enough fresh here,” explained Mississauga Food Bank’s Executive Director Chris Hatch to CTV News Channel.

Hatch’s Mississauga distribution centre, which supplies 52 area food banks and feeds over 200,000 people a year, recently launched AquaGrow Farms to help supplement the 300 tons of fresh produce they dish out and ensure those in need aren’t only eating processed foods.

Using a combination of fish farming and soilless agriculture they’re now growing lettuce and tilapia using an aquaponics laboratory.
The waste from the fish tanks is filtered and used to fertilize the lettuce, which in turn cleans the water and gets sent back into the fish tanks.

The lettuce takes four weeks to go from seed to table, while the fish takes six months to reach maturity.

“Every week we harvest 36 heads of lettuce and that goes out to our member agencies all across Mississauga. We’re estimating in a year we can feed about 11,000 servings of lettuce so that’s pretty significant for such a small setup,” Hatch told The Canadian Press.
Thanks to advances in technology other food banks in similar predicaments have also looked at alternative farming solutions to help with the declining donations.

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Source: CTV News