( Courtesy Grower-Shipper Association Foundation )

The Grower-Shipper Association Foundation, Salinas, Calif., has added Ag Against Hunger to its portfolio of programs it advances by informing the public about the positive effects and economic value of agriculture in the region.

For 25 years, Ag Against Hunger has promoted accessibility of fresh produce for area food banks, donating around 11 million pounds from local growers each year, according to a news release from the Grower-Shipper Association Foundation (GSAF). The Food Bank of Monterey County will handle the distribution of fresh donations.

“As an original founder of Ag Against Hunger, I am excited to see the heritage and vision of Ag Against Hunger continue its gleaning program and advocacy as part of the Grower-Shipper Association Foundation,” Lorri Koster, former CEO of Mann Packing and board member of the foundation. “Now, between the food bank’s distribution system and Ag Against Hunger's expanded gleans, hungry people in our communities will get even more fresh produce on their tables."

The foundation sponsors a number of initiatives and programs throughout the year, including:

  • More Produce in Schools: Works to bring school foodservice departments and growers together to increase produce in school meals, and sponsors a salad bar program that encourages donations to buy salad bars.
  • AgKnowledge: Over nine months, community members in the program learn about the heritage, diversity, stewardship and complexity of Monterey County agriculture.
  • Greater Vision: Education event with a series of public forums, in collaboration with California State University, Monterey Bay and the GSAF.

The Ag Against Hunger programs, which include the spring Ag Women of the Year luncheon and produce mascot race at the California Rodeo Salinas, will continue through the foundation.

Alicia Cask, program manager at Ag Against Hunger, will join the foundation staff, working with executive director Lisa Dobbins, according to the release.

“Together, we can further serve the community in a new way to fight hunger and improve our focus on education and health as we work with our agricultural industry partners,” Grower-Shipper Association chairman Jason Smith said in the release.