Berks farmers helping to fight hunger in Pennsylvania

Berks farmers helping to fight hunger in Pa.; video report by WFMZ's Alexandra Hogan

MAIDENCREEK TWP., Pa. - It's the second year for PASS, the Pennsylvania Agriculture Surplus System, a program aimed to fight hunger in the state.

In its first year, the program provided $1 million to food banks in Pennsylvania, $35,000 of which went to the Greater Berks Food Bank.

Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding toured Taproot Farm, a Berks County farm participating in the program.

"The concern for the number of folks in Pennsylvania who are still at risk of hunger, Berks County has their share," said Redding.

According to Feeding America, one in seven people in Pennsylvania struggles with hunger. Taproot Farm is one of six small businesses working with the Greater Berks Food Bank to change that statistic.

"We've seen an amazing response from the local farm community and as well as the food bank," said Redding.

The program helps those in need and the local farmer. If farmers grow misshaped produce or have too much, the Greater Berks Food Bank will buy it at a discounted rate.

"I paid on average 26 cents per pound for the produce we received this year through the pass program," said Peg Bianca, the food bank's executive director.

The tour showed how much of an impact local farmers can have on fighting hunger.

"There's a lot of underprivileged people in our area that we don't necessarily have contact with to have the ability to do this, so it was a nice bridge for us to get the food out," said Ola Creston, the owner of Taproot Farm.

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