The harvest is in, so let’s get cookin’! After many months in the planning stages, Farm to Freezer is now ready to launch for the 2013 season. Based on the success of our pilot project with Bethesda Cares last year, we are launching Farm to Freezer as a social enterprise and scaling it up to serve more people in our community.
Several people have asked, What is a social enterprise? Are you a non-profit? Farm to Freezer is a for-profit social enterprise. By tapping the synergy of collaboration within our local food system we provide more local, nutritious food to Manna Food Center’s clients in need, provide vocational training in kitchen skills to vulnerable populations, and support farmers by purchasing their surplus produce and thereby strengthening our local food economy. I believe in the power of business to do good in the community. I believe that we can make a difference without competing for scarce public and philanthropic funding.
Farm to Freezer is able to launch operations in its first year because of the generous synergies created between several community stakeholders who share common goals. This year we are thrilled to collaborate with Manna Food Center that serves 3,300 clients and 50 partner feeding programs; Woodside United Methodist Church whose congregation has a strong hunger relief mission; Interfaith Works that provides vocational training to men and women rejoining the workforce; and farmers at the Bethesda Central Farm Market and the Olney Farmer’s Market.
Farm to Freezer will sell its delicious local and organic frozen tomato sauce, ratatouille, and mixed vegetables. Customers will be able to buy our products in the freezer section of local independent groceries and at select farmer’s markets in the fall. Sales will help subsidize the cost of providing healthy, local vegetables frozen at the peak of ripeness to Manna Food Center’s clients come winter, when local fresh produce isn’t available.
Want to join us in the kitchen? As Manna Food Center volunteers, we will wash, chop, cook, package, and freeze beautiful vegetables and make delicious tomato sauce and ratatouille. Click here to sign up!
This blog post was written by Cheryl Kollin, who is the founding principal of Full Plate Ventures LLC which is a consulting business that leverages the symbiotic relationship between business and social mission. In 2012 she co-founded Farm to Freezer in collaboration with Bethesda Cares to address surplus fresh produce, hunger, and food waste. This year she launches Farm to Freezer as a social enterprise. Cheryl also co-chairs the Montgomery County Food Council. For more information about Farm to Freezer, visit their website.