Lunch, Not Landfill: Nonprofit Rescues Produce Rejected At U.S. Border.
Lisa Morhouse of NPR interviews our Director Yolanda Soto about our important work in food rescue and distribution. The interview describes how $4 billion worth of fruits and vegetables comes through the Nogales, Arizona border crossing. Most gets distributed to all parts of the U.S. and Canada, but some gets rejected before it leaves the city of Nogales. Borderlands Food Bank gives produce a second life by redirecting it to needy families across the country and in Arizona. Click here to view the story.
This is a short clip of the interview with Yolanda, Borderlands Borderlands Food Bank Director:
In the U.S., about 15 percent of people struggle with hunger. In Arizona, it’s 20 percent.
So Soto reached out to her neighbors at the scores of produce distribution warehouses around her, asking them to call Borderlands before they dumped the goods.
When a distributor calls wanting to donate a big load of produce that can handle a long haul, Soto sends an email to her list of 200 hunger-relief organizations across the country. It’s first come, first served. The agencies handle transportation and pay Borderlands two pennies per pound.
“For a trailer load, the maximum you’re going to pay is $800, which is nothing,” Soto says, for what is up to $70,000 worth of product.
As for fruits and vegetables too ripe for much travel, Borderlands can distribute them to individuals and agencies in southern Arizona and northern Mexico within hours. Thousands of people also show up for P.O.W.-W.O.W.: Produce on Wheels Without Waste, weekly distributions near Nogales and in Phoenix and Tucson.