Publix supermarket chain has partnered with farmers in Florida and parts of the southeast to save millions of pounds of produce from being discarded as a result of the pandemic.
Decreased demand from schools, restaurants, and hotels during the shutdown meant that farmers were unable to sell their produce.
The Lakeland-based company is supporting farmers across the Sunshine state, buying 5 million pounds (approx. 2,267,961 kg) of fruits and vegetables and 350 gallons (approx. 1,325 liters) of milk, providing much-needed revenue at a time when their largest purchasers have reduced operations or closed altogether.
All of that will be donated to food banks to help families also struggling during the pandemic.
Launched in late April, the goal was to help Florida farmers and dairies; now it has expended to the southeast states of Georgia and the Carolinas, and will team up with farmers in Tennessee and Virginia in the coming weeks.
“During these challenging times, we remain committed to working together to find the solutions that positively impact our communities in need. We are honored to continue our support of Feeding America member food banks and to purchase produce and milk from farmers across the Southeast,” said Publix CEO Todd Jones in a statement. “As the harvest season moves north, so is our initiative, expanding to support additional farmers and serve as many people as possible.”
Over the last five years, Publix Super Markets Charities has donated over $17.5 million to charity Feeding America and its member food banks; that also includes $2 million donated during the pandemic.
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