BEND, OR -- Bend’s Farmers markets can be a great place to stock up on local produce, but one group is using the weekly events to help local food banks. "We collect fresh produce of all shapes, sizes and seasons and we give that to NeighborImpact food bank, who then distributes it to their 45 food banks and food pantry clients," says Jess Weiland, with High Desert Food and Farm Alliance (HDFFA). She tells KBND News, "We have a booth where we accept donations, either monetary or fresh produce from gardeners or farmers who have extra at the end of the market. It has the potential to have a really big impact on the amount of fresh food available for food bank clients."
HDFFA also accepts cash donations, and the group is now partnering with First Interstate Bank to help fund the Grow & Give program. Weiland says children under the age of 18 who open a minor account at First Interstate get a $10 donation voucher, "Then, the person who opened up the bank account can take it to us and give it to our program and we will purchase fresh produce with that donation. Or," she adds, "People can bring fresh produce straight to us, either from their garden or if they’ve purchased any extra from the farmers market."
Grow and Give donation booths can be found at the downtown Bend farmers market
, Wednesday afternoons from 2-6 p.m., and at the Northwest Crossing farmers market, each Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.