US, NY, Saratoga Springs, Southern Adirondack Library System—“Farm-2-Library Program”

 

The Southern Adirondack Library System (SALS) collaborates with the Glens Falls Hospital and Comfort Food Community to create the Farm-2-Library food distribution network. This program meets the needs of people experiencing food insecurity due to limited access to fresh, nutrient-dense food while addressing food waste on local farms.

The Farm-2-Library program reduces food waste by gleaning produce from local farms and combats food scarcity by distributing fresh fruit and vegetables through rural libraries. These libraries serve communities where food scarcity, limited food pantry access, and transportation limit access to fresh fruits and vegetables. In addition, these communities have high incidences of health impairments associated with food insecurity, including diabetes, arthritis, obesity, and mental health.

Participating libraries serve communities where more than 60% of the households found the price of fresh produce to be a barrier, and 42% of the households have an annual income between $16,000 and $32,000 (households are comprised of 2-4 people).

As a result of the program, 62% of participants indicated that they had tried a new fruit or vegetable, and 100% reported that it had improved their access to fresh produce. The participating libraries reported new people coming into the library and attending programs.

In 2020, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, from mid-July 2020 through December 2020, we were able to share more than 6,000 pounds of fresh, local food with our communities.