Organic Valley is truly an inspiration to our community. You'll find them featured on our community support page, too. In addition to donations of produce and dairy, they support CHS through grants and volunteer time.
As a food retailer, Organic Valley actively seeks out ways to prevent food waste by coordinating with food pantries and food banks to redistribute.
Since our beginning, CHS has received tens of thousands of pounds of produce each year from OV and their farmers. After Organic Valley farmers have sorted their produce for OV's retail markets, they're left with seconds - produce that isn't the right color or shape or has unsellable blemishes. CHS purchases this produce in bulk, helping the farmers' bottom line, to redistribute to food banks and food pantries, helping meet their needs as well!
In 2018, Organic Valley began setting aside partial cases from their quality control process for CHS. These cases contain vital nutritous items like milk, cheese, butter and eggs that CHS is able to direct to area pantries helping them meet their patron's diverse needs. What's more, these items are nowhere near their expiration date making them the freshest dairy products our pantries receive!
In 2021, OV increased their weekly donations to include two new categories of dairy. As a result, CHS now distributes about 150,000 pounds of dairy products from OV every year!
Harmony Valley Farm is an organic farm located outside of Viroqua, WI. Like many other organic farms in the area, Harmony Valley sells their produce through a combination of CSA's, food retailers and food processors, and at farmers' markets.
During market season, CHS makes weekly trips to Harmony Valley to pick up market returns - items that Harmony Valley harvested in excess of what they were able to sell at the market and/or pack into their CSA boxes. During peak season, this donation consists of everything from salad greens and cooking greens to herbs, garlic, onions, melons, fruits, and much more!
In addition to market returns, Harmony Valley donates quality seconds/over harvests of important staples like summer squash, cucumbers, carrots, potatoes, winter squash, parsnip, and more. There is also an option with their CSA subscription to donate your box (if you are away from home for a time or simply don't need it) to hunger relief. Harmony Valley donates about $200,000 worth of fresh, delicious produce every year to CHS! This produce comprises, by far, the greatest variety of food CHS offers partner organizations throughout the season.
Volunteers are allowed to sign up to join CHS on farm pick ups, giving them an opportunity to check out Harmony Valley's operation in action and meet some of the people behind their delicious food!
Driftless Organics is an organic farm outside of Soldier's Grove, WI. They got their start farming organic potatoes, and now produce a large variety of veggies and value added farm products.
Driftless Organics sells a huge amount of potatoes and carrots and donates all the seconds CHS can handle July through April, ensuring that our patrons can rely on these staples throughout the season. Driftless donates other excess produce as available and, because of their delivery range, is able to deliver the donations right to our facility. These deliveries are a welcome addition to our coolers and save CHS the time and overhead of having to add an additional stop on our route on an already packed Tuesday. The savings of their deliveries alone saves Community Hunger Solutions about $2,000 per year!
Driftless Organics is one of the few farms that still makes space for CHS volunteers to glean (or harvest food that would otherwise be left in the field). This experience is enriching for our volunteers and is a way for CHS to offer produce that wouldn't otherwise be available.
Depending on need, Driftless Organics donates roughly 10,000 pounds of produce each year!