Finding Common Values - Solving Hunger
Minnesota Farm Bureau understands that value is important to our potential members and to every current Farm Bureau member when choosing to renew their membership. In the book “The End of Membership as we Know It,” Sarah Sladek states, “The number one reason members join an association is because they believe that the association will help them solve a problem…If they join your association or renew their dues, they want that money to pay for access to much more than a listing in a directory and a discount on car rental.”
It is in solving common core value problems that connect us to our Farm Bureau membership. Addressing hunger is a common value for our Farm Bureau members across Minnesota. Through Farm Bureau’s Promotion & Education Committee Food Awareness activities and our Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee Harvest for All programs, Farm Bureau members are making a difference. During 2014-2015, the Minnesota Farm Bureau Foundation together with county Farm Bureau members have raised nearly $21,000, packaged 36,306 pounds of fresh produce, packaged 10,800 meals and donated volunteer hours to help the hungry in Minnesota.
Food connects every Farm Bureau member and every potential member! Our members engage in many Food Awareness activities such as serving food at the Ronald McDonald House; inviting elected officials to grocery shopping sprees to raise over $6,000 for county food shelves; donating hams for Easter; raising acres of sweet corn for the food shelf; donating freezers, extra produce or meat; or donating money to provide funds for the backpack program to feed hungry children over the weekends away from school. These are just a few activities occurring during February as Food Awareness Month and March as Food Share Month.
Harvest for All
Now in its 13th year, Harvest for All is spearheaded by members of Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers & Ranchers program, but Farm Bureau members of all ages from across the nation contribute to the effort. The joint effort between Farm Bureau and Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger relief organization, is a national community action program through which farmers and ranchers can help ensure every American enjoys the bounty of food they produce.
Nationally, last year Farm Bureau’s farm and ranch families raised more than $1.2 million and donated a record of nearly 42 million pounds of food to assist hungry Americans. Combined, the monetary and food donations also reached a record level of the equivalent of more than 46 million meals.
Minnesota food banks serve approximately 623,000 people each year. Farm Bureau members can help solve the hunger problem by taking the Empty Plate Challenge and raise awareness about hunger in our communities. All you have to do is skip a meal, post an empty plate picture on social media, challenge three friends to do the same and donate the money that you would of spent to those in need. Learn more at www.harvesttoendhungermn.org/emptyplate.
As farmers and ranchers, we work every day so that no one in America is hungry. Yet, according to Second Harvest Heartland, every day 1 in 10 Americans go hungry. Many are senior citizens and children, and according to the World Food Prize, 25,000 people each day die from the lack of food across the world. That is why Farm Bureau members are committed to fighting hunger at local, national and global levels. We invite you to join Farm Bureau and join our efforts to fight hunger.