On September 18, 2019, Island Harvest Food Bank celebrated the bountiful harvest from their Giving Garden/Farm on the Brentwood Campus of the Sisters of St. Joseph to help hungry Long Islanders.
Island Harvest Food Bank, along with the Sisters of St. Joseph and a group of volunteers from the international organic farm organization WWOOF(World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms), and others, celebrated the food bank’s harvest of fresh, locally grown produce from the organizations’ two farms, Giving Gardens, Grow-a-Row Programs, and Giving-to-Excess Program that it operates in Nassau and Suffolk counties. In all, these initiatives are expected to yield an estimated 1.9 million pounds of fruits and vegetables, which supports approx. 1.6 million meals, to address the nutritional needs of more than 300,000 food-insecure Long Islanders. Among the crops produced this season include basil, beans, blueberries, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, corn, cucumbers, eggplants, kohlrabi, muskmelon, okra, peppers, potatoes, pumpkins, radishes, rutabagas, squash, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, turnips, watermelon, and zucchini.
There is a strong link between food insecurity, chronic health problems and poverty often exists because of the lack of access to fresh fruits and vegetables according to Randi Shubin Dresner, president & CEO, Island Harvest Food Bank. Typically, strategies to assist people who are food insecure are most often short-term and lack fresh, healthy food. Providing long-term sustainable solutions that include nutritionally rich food, coupled with a robust nutrition education program, helps promote healthy eating habits and self-sufficiency among those struggling with hunger thus mitigating poor dietary choices and nutritional deficiencies, which ultimately lead to better health.