Fresh bell peppers from NatureFresh Farms await packaging and distribution to Detroit area food banks. ( Courtesy NatureFresh Farms )

Greenhouse grower NatureFresh Farms, Leamington, Ontario, is donating vegetables to Forgotten Harvest, which provides food to 250 metro Detroit emergency food providers.

NatureFresh’s donation program is designed to cut down on food waste, and the grower has donated more than 150,000 pounds of fresh produce to Oak Park, Mich.-based Forgotten Harvest so far this year, according to a news release. The focus is to save edible vegetables that don’t make retail aesthetic standards.

The food rescue organization gleans and packages the vegetables into family packs that are sent to a network of area food banks. NatureFresh, which expects to donate about 600,000 pounds of vegetables to Forgotten Harvest this year, has been donating to the organization since 2011.

 “The initial creation of this donation program saw some obstacles, as every new program does, but once people started to realize how much food we were saving, it really opened their eyes to the good we could do as a company,” said Justin Guenther, allocation/shipping manager at NatureFresh Farms who has led the development of the program, in the release.

“As metro Detroit’s only fresh food rescue, our partnership with NatureFresh is a critical portion of our supply chain,” Chris Ivey, director of marketing and public relations at Forgotten Harvest, said in the release.