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Loaves and Fishes x10 in the Tri-County Bulletin…

Posted on 06 July 2015 by robertflournoy

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A Precinct Reporter Group Publication – The Community’s Newspaper – Serving Long Beach and Surrounding Communities  

 Flournoy Gives Away Food….                                                            Thursday, June 25, 2015

By Dianne Anderson Staff Writer..

By Dianne Anderson Staff Writer Gleaning, that old biblical concept of free food for the taking, has become a lifetime passion for Robert Flournoy, who is happy to see the fruit of his labor in one hand and out the other. Flournoy, President and founder of Loaves and Fishes x10, is a middleman for area farms, such as Orange County Produce and The Original Manassero Farms. In the past month, Flournoy has given away about 40,000 pounds of fruits and vegetables for the hungry. His life has revolved around food, either working with food banks, or his own distribution, over the past 15 years. Typically, he’s out in the fields around sunrise, hauling numerous 60 pound crates of produce in his van twice a day, picking up the less desirable “number two’s.” The stores get the “number ones.” “The number two’s are not as pretty. They may be crooked, but they’re just as edible. People like us go to the store and we want the pretty stuff. Farmers know that,” he said. So he and volunteers pick up what’s left behind, and it’s a lot. Flournoy, who worked at food banks for 11 years, connected a few years ago with Irvine Valley College and The Original Manassero Farms about gleaning their fields. Since partnering, he has increased his own donations from 5,000 pounds of produce to area food pantries the first year, to 250,000 pounds to help feed tens of thousands in 2013. That’s not counting the food he might have given away if other farms were also on board with the gleaning concept. “But they just let it rot out,” he said. “Manassero is one farm that allowed me to go in and take what I can through gleaning, and they are donating to me as well.” Connecting with farms that are willing to give food away could help knock down the food insecurity across the country. However, many farmers do not allow gleaning, even as they waste countless tons of produce monthly.


Flournoy Gives (Cont. from Page 1)

One reason farmers turn over so much food back into the ground is that there is no market for it. It may have a funny shape, a bump or two, and hard to sell at the stores. In the past four years, Loaves and Fishes x10 has donated over a half million pounds of food in Orange County alone. “I have my board, but 99% of the time, it’s me in the fields, loading and delivering or waiting for food banks to come to the field,” he said. He always welcomes volunteers. With email blasts, he invites everyone that is interested to come out and pluck away for those in need. Volunteers also walk away with more than enough of whatever is in season to feed their own families. “Sometimes it’s every two weeks or every month, it all depends on when the farm is ready,” he said. “They take home whatever we pick,” he said. On average, Flournoy distributes 1,500 to 2,000 pounds of free produce to about 15 local nonprofits, including Saddleback Church, Santa Ana schools, Santa Ana and Orange County food banks, and Southwest Community Center, at roughly 10,000 pounds a week. He also donates to one food bank in Los Angeles County. Each year, countless tons of perfectly good fruits and vegetables are allowed to wither on the vines, unpicked. “In almost all cases, that would be food just allowed to rot in the fields,” said Mark Lowry, who heads the Orange County Food Bank. “The produce is a little misshapen, a little smaller or a slight blemish. The nutritional value is no different.” Lowry said that Americans waste 40% of food, including what’s thrown away at grocery stores, left on dinner plates, and what’s turned over in the fields. Some of the problem is larger companies may fear liability and injury concerns of unskilled labor in fields with sharp objects. Lately, Good Samaritan Flournoy Gives (Cont. from Page 1) laws are helping to open the process and protection, and his own organization buys volunteer insurance. He said that Flournoy’s effort is important for the county. When it comes to food insecurity, Orange County still ranks second in the state. “We’re not doing particularly well,” he said. Employment numbers are better, but he said the food service industry is the largest and fastest growing segment in the county, which pays very low wages. Living wage for the county is $28 an hour, and many still rely heavily on free food. Besides getting healthy fresh food to the tables of those who cannot afford it, he said there are many in the county that also like to volunteer in a more meaningful way. “There is a power in a group of people working side by side, from the church or synagogue, gleaning food a vulnerable family, and for the common good. To volunteer with Robert Flournoy, email robert@loaves andfishesx10.com see www. loavesandfishesx10.com


Actual Link To Article…

Flournoy Gives Away Food


Last years planting of squash….

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