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Fresh produce and other nutrient-dense foods are the most difficult items to distribute effectively to food banks. Challenges like high fuel costs are also making it increasingly difficult for trucking donors to participate. In an effort to counter these problems, the Access to Healthy Foods Coalition (AHFC) commissioned a revolutionary trucking capacity study to determine how to maximize distribution of donated produce to food banks serving people in need across Washington state.
The study concluded that technology is the key to coordinating available food, trucks and food banks. According to the study, opportunities for improving the current "farmer to food bank" process include:
Web-based dispatching would allow food banks to declare a need, food donors to meet that need, and trucking companies to donate the delivery of that food utilizing existing space on the trucks closest to the food and the delivery points. Developing new ways to connect farmers and truckers who want to help with the food banks will greatly benefit hungry individuals and families.
Hebert Research of Bellevue conducted the study. The Washington State Department of Health provided support with funds from a grant by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Findings from the study may be used to develop a pilot program to test the recommendations in Washington State.
Featured: Autumn 2006
Food banks in Washington State