PITTSTOWN, NJ (Hunterdon County) – A team of nearly 50 volunteers from Wakefern Food Corp., the ShopRite of Hunterdon County and General Mills visited America’s Grow-a-Row farm in Pittstown to harvest apples for donation to the Community FoodBank of New Jersey.
This year’s harvest benefited from a new pollinator garden that was developed over the past year by America’s Grow-a-Row with support from Wakefern, ShopRite and General Mills. The pollinator garden includes 10 beehives that increase crop yields and will eventually produce honey at the farm.
“The pollinator garden and beehives at America’s Grow-A-Row farm have contributed to a larger yield of apples and other produce that will ultimately help families in need across New Jersey,” said Joe Colalillo, president, ShopRite of Hunterdon County. “The ShopRite of Hunterdon County and Wakefern are proud to support America’s Grow-A-Row in their mission to bring fresh and healthy produce to vulnerable populations in the fight against food insecurity.”
According to Pollinator Partnership, 1 out of every 3 bites of food we eat is made possible by pollinators. Honeybees alone are responsible for between $1.2 billion and $5.4 billion in agriculture productivity in the United States. In addition to the food that we eat, pollinators support healthy ecosystems that clean the air, stabilize soils, protect from severe weather, and support other wildlife.
“We could not be more pleased to join ShopRite and America’s Grow-a-Row to celebrate the farm’s pollinator garden and beehives that are providing more fresh and healthy produce for those in need,” said Mary Bohannon, senior customer manager, General Mills. “Bees are critical to the safety and diversity of the nation’s food supply and a direct driver of economic activity in New Jersey and the nation.”
As a result of the teams harvesting efforts more than 5,000 pounds of apples, or 20,000 servings, will be donated to the Community FoodBank of New Jersey for distribution to its agencies across New Jersey.
“ShopRite, General Mills and their team of volunteers have made a true impact on our organization and those struggling to put food on the table,” said Chip Paillex, president and founder, America’s Grow-a-Row. “Their ongoing financial support and direct hands-on volunteerism at the farm allows us to broaden our reach and help as many people as possible.”
Additionally, as part of the America’s Grow-a-Row partnership with ShopRite, volunteers from America’s Grow-a-Row make daily trips to ShopRite stores in Clinton and Flemington to rescue “not quite retail perfect” produce that is then delivered to local food pantries. This process, known as “gleaning,” not only helps fight hunger, but also keeps excess produce from being discarded and out of local landfills. The ShopRite of Washington also donates produce to America’s Grow-a-Row three times a week.
ShopRite is committed to protecting the environment and fighting hunger in communities in which our stores operate. ShopRite’s Partners In Caring program, a community-based, hunger fighting initiative, supports more than 2,200 charities and has donated nearly $51 million to soup kitchens, food pantries, homeless shelters, senior citizen centers and other organizations that are on the front lines of fighting hunger.