From Field to Friends: PRISM’s Produce Journey


From Field to Friends: PRISM’s Produce Journey

PRISM’s mission is to fight hunger and poverty by providing resources and support to those in need. A significant part of this mission is ensuring that participants have access to fresh, healthy produce. Our commitment to providing nutritious food stems from the belief that everyone deserves to eat well, regardless of their circumstances.  

The produce journey from the field to our participants’ tables is a story of collaboration, community, and care. This process involves building strong relationships with local farmers and area markets, sourcing additional produce from larger food bank partners, navigating the challenges of weather, and ensuring that fresh produce reaches those who need it most.  

Building Community Relationships: Local Produce    

PRISM aims to source as much produce as possible locally. Whether it is through buying produce with grants or receiving donations, supporting local farmers and gardeners is not just about obtaining fresh produce, but also fostering sustainable agriculture, reducing PRISM’s environmental footprint, and supporting those who constantly support us.  

The Importance of Supporting Local Produce:    
  • Freshness and Taste: Locally sourced produce is often harvested within a day or two of reaching the consumers, ensuring maximum freshness and flavor.  
  • Environmental Impact: Sourcing locally reduces carbon emissions associated with long-distance crop transportation.  
  • Economic Support: Purchasing local produce helps farmers sustain their production and local economy while preserving agricultural diversity.  
The Role of Gleaning:    

Gleaning is the process of collecting surplus/unsold produce that would otherwise go to waste. This practice reduces food waste and ensures community members have access to fresh, nutrient-filled food. Gleaning prevents perfectly good produce from ending up in landfills, addressing both environmental and food security issues. By collecting surplus produce and food from , we can provide more variety and quantity to our participants.  

Sourcing from Larger Food Bank Partners:    

Filling the Gaps   

PRISM’s relationship with local farmers and markets is essential. The Marketplace Food Shelf also relies on purchases from larger food bank partners like The Food Group and Second Harvest Heartland. These vital partnerships offer participants as much choice in their produce as possible and significantly reduce the cost compared to purchasing supplies from grocers.  

Benefits of Partnering with Food Banks:   
  • Consistent Supply: Larger food banks provide a steady source of produce, ensuring PRISM can meet the demand for fruits and vegetables, especially during off seasons.  
  • Variety and Choice: Purchasing from food banks allows PRISM to offer a wider variety of produce, giving participants more opportunities to choose meaningful, nutritious ingredients when they are shopping.  
  • Cost Efficiency: Sourcing from food banks is more cost-effective than buying from traditional grocers, allowing PRISM to stretch our resources and serve more of the community.  

Delivering Freshness: PRISM to Participants   

Distribution Methods:    

PRISM employs a couple of distribution methods, to ensure fresh produce reaches the community.  

  • The Marketplace Food Shelf: This is PRISM’s primary method of distribution. Open Monday through Thursday, participants “shop” for fresh produce directly, picking what is most needed/wanted in their lives. There is no cost for this service. 
  • Produce Distributions: Pop-up distributions from June to October provide fresh, bulk produce options. All community members are welcome and encouraged to come to PRISM for FREE, fresh produce.  
Handling and Storage:    

Proper product handling and storage are critical to maintaining quality and safety. Investing in appropriate refrigeration and transportation methods ensures that produce remains fresh until it reaches our participants’ tables. This involves careful logistical planning and coordination, especially during transportation and distribution processes.  

Throwing Curveballs: Weather’s Impact    

Challenges of Weather Conditions:    

Natural Hazards can significantly impact crop yields. For example, recent flooding in Minnesota threatens local agriculture, potentially reducing the supply and availability of produce, leading to an increase in prices and food scarcity. Understanding and adapting to these challenges is critical in maintaining a consistent supply for PRISM participants. These friction points emphasize the importance of a healthy relationship between PRISM and its food bank partners. Partnerships provide additional food sources and a layer of security within the supply chain.  

A Grown Connection: PRISM’s Produce Journey   

PRISM’s produce journey is only one example of the power of community and collaboration. From local farmers and food banks to our dedicated staff and volunteers, everyone plays a crucial role in ensuring that fresh, healthy produce reaches those who need it most.  

  • Supporting Local Farmers: By sourcing produce from local farms and gardens, PRISM promotes sustainable agriculture, reduces environmental impact, and supports the local economy.  
  • Reducing Food Waste through Gleaning: Our partnerships with local stores help us glean surplus produce, reducing food waste and increasing access to fresh food. 
  • Leveraging Food Bank Partnerships: Collaborations with The Food Group and Second Harvest Heartland fill gaps in our inventory, ensuring consistent supply, variety, and cost-efficiency.  
  • Efficient Distribution Methods: We use the Marketplace Food Shelf and community events to distribute produce, ensuring it reaches participants in a timely and effective manner.  
  • Adapting to Weather Challenges: Adapt our sourcing strategies to ensure a consistent supply of fresh produce, regardless of weather conditions.  

Help PRISM Build Healthy, Stable Lives   

Join us in making a difference! Here are ways you can get involved:   

Together, we can build a healthier, more stable future for all.  

Please direct media inquiries to Alisha Weis, Advancement Director

Call Alisha763-432-4229

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