'Farm to Trunk' Orlando non-profit gives organic produce to people in need
For a lot of people, the Covid-19 pandemic shed light on a number of truths. For Kim K. Johnson, that truth has to do with her life purpose. When much of society shut down and she lost her job at the start of the pandemic, Johnson saw a need and founded an organization calledFarm to Trunk.
“I saw a Facebook post from an organic farmer that I followed for a number of years out of Fort Pierce - Brown's family farm. And they had lost every way they had of selling their organic produce. And in that moment, Farm to Trunk was birthed,” Johnson says.
Farm to Trunk is a non-profit that raises money to buy fresh produce from local organic farmers and gives it to Central Floridians in need of food. Johnson runs the organization out of her home in Orlando.
She estimates that Farm to Trunk has given out more than 3,600 bags of food and each bag feeds up to four people. The benefit to local farmers has been more than $40,000 in sales.
Johnson says she knows there are lots of organizations that give people food, but she believes Farm to Trunk stands out because of the quality of what it’s giving away.
“We are not giving people food on the verge of going bad,” she says. “We have experienced opportunities to get food donated to us that had 'best by' dates on it - day of, next day, produce that was donated to us by grocery stores, and what we determined, what we discovered was that the produce that we would get from those methods didn’t hold up. Within a day or two the produce was going bad. That is not the case when you are getting fresh, just-harvested locally grown produce.”
Johnson says her long term goals are simple - help provide food in areas where there are food deserts, help provide more food to people who do not have enough, and help her community be more self-sufficient.
“We have a fabulous three-year goal of driving a modern, mobile food truck into food deserts here in Orlando- well, Central Florida,” Johnson says. The food truck would bring opportunities to buy organic produce to people with lower incomes who may live in areas without stores that sell fresh food. Customers could pay using cash or SNAP benefits.
Johnson says if COVID taught her anything, it’s that we need to be able to provide for the people in our communities no matter what’s happening elsewhere. And she believes that starts with food.
This story was reported, written and produced by UCF Nicholson School of Communication journalism student Crystal Tisme.