Local Food System

We are part of a vibrant local food system in Humboldt County, which has given to us in so many ways. Farms, orchards, ranches, and backyard gardeners donate fresh, and often organic, Humboldt grown foods to us. In addition, many local producers of specialty foods, such as bread, tortillas, cheese, milk, and more, donate to us throughout the year when they have surplus. In turn, we support our local food system with grant funding designated specifically for purchasing fresh foods from local farms and producers.

Our Gleaning Program is the avenue through which farmers, orchards, ranchers, and other local producers donate locally raised food to the food bank. Volunteers often help our staff with harvests. To get involved in volunteering, fill out our volunteer application and let us know you're interested in gleaning with us.

Our Plant a Row for the Hungry project is a way for anyone in our community to donate garden-grown produce to our Gleaning Program, from backyard gardens and orchards large and small. Simply drop off your donation at Food for People during business hours, or request that volunteers help with a large harvest by emailing us at gleaning@foodforpeople.org, or give us a call to find out where you can donate to a food pantry in your community. There are currently 17 pantries in our network, including our on-site Choice Pantry in Eureka, and the list can be viewed by clicking here. Please visit our Plant a Row Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page for useful tips about the program, what we can do for you, and what produce we can or can't accept.

Our Locally Delicious Food Fund supports the local farming community, thanks to a partnership with the authors of Locally Delicious: Recipes and Resources for Eating on the North Coast. The Locally Delicious Food Fund helps us contract with local farmers before the growing season begins, helping out with seasonal start-up costs, in exchange for growing specific high-quality organic produce items for our Senior and Homebound programs, to be delivered throughout the growing season. Produce purchased through the fund supplies our senior and homebound food distribution programs with fresh, health-supporting produce that program participants would otherwise be unable to afford. Surveys conducted in our Senior and Homebound programs repeatedly demonstrate that our program participants place high value on having access to an array of fresh fruits and vegetables in their diets, in order to remain or become healthy.

Our Mobile Produce Pantry is stocked in large part by produce purchased from local farms, thanks to grant funds specifically for this purpose. The Mobile Produce Pantry is a refrigerated truck full of fresh fruits and vegetables that we drive to specific locations across the county on a monthly schedule. We travel as far north as Orick, northeast to Willow Creek, Hoopa, Weitchpec, and Orleans, all the way south to Redway, and many spots in between to set up a free farm stand-style produce distribution. Our staff provide nutrition education, recipes, and taste tests, to help encourage healthy cooking from scratch at home. CalFresh information and application assistance is available on site, to help participants afford to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables at local stores and farmers' markets during the course of the rest of the month.

Our CalFresh Outreach & Nutrition Education programs provide a wealth of resources for growing one's own garden with CalFresh, which is an economical way to enjoy the health benefits of access to fresh produce all season long. Our Nutrition Educator teaches cooking classes and food demos through all of our food distribution programs in the county, utilizing food bank foods and seasonal, local produce and provides tips on how to access local food affordably.

We helped establish, and continue to support and link our program participants to, the Humboldt Market Match program, which helps CalFresh recipients double their benefits when they shop at Humboldt County farmers' markets. Our partners at the North Coast Growers Association have expanded the program over the years, increasing access to local farmers' markets for the low-income community and creating a welcoming environment for all.

We partner with many local organizations and collaboratives engaged on issues of food policy and a strong, resilient local food system. These include, but are not limited to, the Humboldt County Food Policy Council, North Coast Growers Association, Locally Delicious, Northcoast Co-op, and more.