LEWISBURG — Mother Nature created the problem, and one area farm, with the help of local volunteers from area FFA and other groups decided to take advantage of it.
Osswald Family Farms, operated by Fred Osswald, had tons of extra cabbage which was defective due to the excessive heat this summer. In order to make the best of the situation, and help those in need across the state, the farm contacted the Ohio Association of Foodbanks, and through the Ohio Agricultural Clearance Program, the cabbage will be distributed to large metropolitan foodbanks across the state.
Loads of cabbage were delivered to the foodbanks in Dayton, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus, and Louisville, Kentucky, locations large enough to be able to handle large quantities of fresh produce.
The cabbage was 99 percent usable, but unmarketable due to sometimes small imperfections caused by the weather conditions.
As of Thursday, Sept. 1, five semi loads, approximately 200 tons, of the cabbage had been harvested and shipped for use by the foodbanks, according to Lane Osswald.
The Preble County Farm Bureau, National Trail FFA, Twin Valley South FFA and Preble Shawnee FFA, area Boy Scouts, and helpful “concerned” neighbors spent time on the farm helping harvest the cabbage last week, according to Osswald.
For the FFA groups, service projects are important, and for National Trail FFA members in particular, the work helped meet the requirements of their recently received “Bags of Hope” program grant, according to NT FFA Director Eric Kennel.
Osswald thanked the PCFB, Nationwide Insurance, the area FFA groups, Boy Scouts, and everyone who helped out, including Grainger, who donated the gloves needed during the harvesting.
“We would never have been able to do this without them,” he said.
The Ohio Agricultural Clearance Program (OACP) directs surplus agricultural products from more than 100 Ohio farmers, growers, and producers to Ohio’s 12 Feeding America foodbanks. OFPACP provides fresh, Ohio-grown produce and protein-packed, shelf-stable foods to Ohio’s 12 Feeding America foodbanks.
Through cooperation between the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, who serve as grant manager for the program, along with member foodbanks and local agricultural providers, the Ohio Association of Foodbanks feeds millions of hungry Ohioans through OACP. The association works with its agricultural partners to purchase surplus commodity products and unmarketable fruits and vegetables, preventing unnecessary waste and reducing losses in the agricultural industry. The association distributes those nutritious items to member foodbanks, who in turn distribute that food to more than 3,300 local emergency food providers.
The fruits, vegetables, and produce purchased and distributed through OACP makes up some of the most nutritious food available through the emergency food network. Along with OFP, it provides a vital supplement to products available through federal programs like The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP).
Ohio Association of Foodbanks’ mission is to assist Ohio’s 12 Feeding America foodbanks in providing food and other resources to people in need and to pursue areas of common interest for the benefit of people in need.
In 2015, the OAF distributed more than 40.4 million pounds, or more than 33.6 million meals, of nutritious food through OFPACP, according to OAF officials.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH