California Farmers Deliver Relief to Food Banks Throughout the State Suffering from Drought

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“California Water Feeds our Communities” Launches Statewide Food Drive

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This campaign has been launched to feed the needy and raise awareness about how the drought hurts the most vulnerable people in the state.

In an effort to combat food shortages at California food banks, Central Valley farmers and businesses today shipped truckloads of locally-grown fresh fruits and vegetables to nearly a dozen communities throughout the state, according to the event’s sponsor, California Water Feeds Our Communities.

“The drought has impacted California’s food banks because they can no longer adapt to the spike in food prices resulting from a lack of water for farmers,” said Cannon Michael, President of Bowles Farming Company, Inc. “This campaign has been launched to feed the needy and raise awareness about how the drought hurts the most vulnerable people in the state.”

The organization today packed 15 truckloads of fresh, local produce destined for food banks struggling the most – those in Merced, Fresno, Bakersfield, Los Angeles, Watsonville, Salinas, Santa Maria, Oxnard, Riverside and San Diego.

The drought creates a “double-whammy” for food banks, he said, because it not only drives up food prices but also creates more joblessness in farm communities where less water means a reduced demand for labor.

According the San Francisco Chronicle in an article published earlier this year, the fallout from the drought could impact 2 million of the state’s poorest residents served by food banks.

The newspaper reported that: “Fresh produce accounts for more than half the handouts at Bay Area food banks, but with an estimated minimum of 500,000 acres to be fallowed in California, growers will have fewer fruits and vegetables to donate.

“With less local supply, food prices will spike, increasing as much as 34 percent for a head of lettuce and 18 percent for tomatoes, according to an Arizona State University study released last week. With fewer fields planted, there could be as many as 20,000 unemployed agricultural workers who will need more food handouts, especially in the Central Valley.”

The increased demand and lower supply creates a fundamental problem.

“Fallowing the land comes with many unintended consequences,” said Michael. “We hope raising awareness about the drought will bring all stakeholders together to find short and long-term solutions.”

Press conferences will be held at each food drop location running from Wednesday, September 3rd to Friday September 5th. Representatives will be on hand to speak with the media regarding the impacts of the drought and how, through the generosity of our community, we are able to help those in greatest need. A list of locations and press conference times are below:

Wednesday, September 3rd:

Time: 10:00 AM
Simonian Fruit Company                             
350 N. 7th Street
Fowler, CA 93625

Time: 1:00 PM
Community Action Partnership of Kern (CAPK)        
1807 Feliz Drive
Bakersfield, CA 93307

Time: 1:00 PM
Merced Food Bank                                
2000 West Olive Ave
Merced, CA 95348

Time: 1:00 PM
Second Harvest Food Bank of Riverside        
2950 Jefferson St
Riverside, CA 92504

Time: 1:00 PM
Food Bank of Santa Barbara                        
490 West Foster Rd.
Santa Maria, CA 93455

Thursday, September 4th:

Time: 10:00 AM                    
Second Harvest Food Bank                         
800 Ohlone Pkwy
Watsonville CA 95076

Time: 1:00 PM    
Second Harvest Food Bank Orange County            
8014 Marine Way
Irvine, CA 92618

Time: 1:00 PM                                
Los Angeles Regional Food Bank                
1734 E 41st St
Los Angeles, CA 90058

Time: 1:00 PM
Food Share Inc. Oxnard                        
4156 Southbank Rd
Oxnard, CA 93036

Time: 1:00 PM
The Food Bank For Monterey County                
815 W Market Street
Salinas, CA 93901

Friday, September 5th:

Time: 10:30 AM
San Diego Food Bank                             
9850 Distribution Ave
San Diego CA 92121

These events are a collaboration of the California Community Food Bank along with such entities as the California Water Alliance, Westlands Water District and El Agua Es Asunto De Todos.

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Diana Enriquez

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Gayle Holman

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