In a roomful of elected officials and non-profit agencies from all corners of Santa Cruz County, Second Harvest Food Bank revealed San Juan Bautista-based True Leaf Farms as its choice for 2019 Food Industry Donor of the Year.
The ceremony served as the lunch event for the Food Bank’s 14th annual Nutrition Summit on Oct. 21 at Twin Lakes Church in Aptos.
Cesar Yee and Humberto Garcia of True Leaf Farms accepted the award.
Garcia said that True Leaf values quality produce and the ability of Second Harvest to quickly turn around donated products to the community.
True Leaf Farms moved to the Salinas Valley 10 years ago, and since 2017 has donated 320,000 pounds of fresh produce—much of it organic—to Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz County.
Wanting to donate shelf-stable produce beyond what was already going to market, New Leaf Farms began partnering with Second Harvest. With the ability to accept produce and distribute it through a county-wide network of partners, Second Harvest can turn around the donated product quickly for distribution to families in Santa Cruz County who are then able to enjoy the fresh produce such as lettuce, celery, arugula, onions and broccoli.
Company officials say their philosophy is to make sure that people have access to healthy produce and reduce food waste going to the landfill.
“Their company values of integrity, passion to be the best, humility and collaboration are exemplified by their frequent produce donations to Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz County and the Salinas Valley communities,” Second Harvest stated in a press release.
The event focused on helping Second Harvest’s 100 local partner agencies find ways to reduce the stigma attached to receiving food assistance.