Partnership between Madison food pantries, local farmers to continue through July

The $5 million program is considered a 'win-win' to keep families fed, farmers in business

MADISON, Wis.– Right now, thousands of local families are struggling with food insecurity entering month ten of the pandemic. Meanwhile, local farmers are struggling to sell their products, too. Last spring, leaders in Dane County came up with a way to help both farmers and families, and the promising partnership will continue through at least the end of July.

The $5 million agreement extension between Dane County and the Second Harvest Food Bank allows the county to buy dairy, meat, and produce from Wisconsin farmers and use those locally-sourced products to stock county food pantries.

County executive Joe Parisi calls the partnership, first established in the spring of 2020, a “win-win” because it feeds hungry families and keeps local farmers in business.

Michelle Orge, president of Second Harvest, agrees, saying the funding extension couldn’t have come at a better time, as she expects the problem of food insecurity to persist through much of 2021.

Local food banks, including Second Harvest, are currently serving double the number of families they usually do.

The extended $5 million deal will ensure the partnership between pantries and producers continues through summer 2021. It will provide Second Harvest with $1 million in the months of January, February, and March, followed by $500,000 in April, May, June, and July.

The money is used to buy fresh food, which Second Harvest distributes to pantries throughout Dane County, including the Badger Prairie Needs Network, St. Vincent de Paul, The River, Middleton Outreach Ministry, and the Catholic Multicultural Center.

Even amidst the promising news of this extended partnership, local pantries still need community support.

Click here to donate to/volunteer at your nearest food pantry.