Wisconsin county extends program linking growers to food pantries

Associated Press
Farm Forum

MADISON, Wis. — Officials said Dane County has secured a six-month extension of a program linking local growers with food pantries that was set to expire at the end of 2020.

County Executive Joe Parisi announced in late December that a $5 million agreement has been reached with Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin to continue the program through at least the end of July.

The program began in April with the help of about $8 million of the county’s federal coronavirus relief funding. More than 4,000 hours of service have been logged to help those experiencing hardship and hunger, the Wisconsin State Journal reported.

Many people facing job losses have turned to food pantries for meals. Requests for food from Second Harvest has increased more than 50% since last year, the nonprofit’s leader said last month.

Parisi said the program helps families struggling to put food on the table, keeps pantry shelves stocked and benefits local agricultural producers who need new markets to sell their goods. Second Harvest has teamed up with the Dane County Dairy and Pork Producers, Dane County Farmers’ Market and Fairshare CSA Coalition.

“This funding extension could not have come at a better time,” Michelle Orge, president and CEO of Second Harvest, said in an announcement.