Helping Others

Food drive produces landmark 170,923-pound total

Farm-to-Fork staff members transfer fresh fruits and veggies to a large truck on Capital Mall early Wednesday morning. Organizers hope to set a world record by gathering at least 25,000 pounds.
Farm-to-Fork staff members transfer fresh fruits and veggies to a large truck on Capital Mall early Wednesday morning. Organizers hope to set a world record by gathering at least 25,000 pounds. rpench@sacbee.com

Sacramento’s third Farm-to-Fork Celebration officially kicked off Wednesday with a food drive that aimed to collect at least 25,000 pounds of fresh produce and set a landmark in the Guinness World Records.

The goal was surpassed many times over, with a total of 170,923.8 pounds of fresh produce collected as of 6:30 p.m., said Kelly Siefkin, food bank spokeswoman. As a result, Sacramento now holds the world record for the amount of fresh produce donated within 24 hours.

“I’m so proud of Sacramento,” Siefkin said. “They really step up every single time.”

The Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau, the main organizer of Farm-to-Fork, partnered with the Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services to organize the drive, which began before sunrise on a closed-to-traffic stretch of Capitol Mall. The idea was to collect donations of fresh produce from grocers, farmers and other food providers, and the public, and distribute them regionally to families in need.

“Our organization has always felt the (Farm-to-Fork Celebration) should be farm to every fork,” said Siefkin. “We’ve been pushing this produce mantra for several years because we know that families will do better eating healthful, nutritious food.”

Trucks full of pears, peaches, apples and more from Raley’s, Produce Express, General Produce and others lined up on the mall Wednesday morning for a “parade of produce” convoy. Their destination was the food bank’s 100,000-square-foot refrigerated warehouse in North Sacramento, where volunteers would unload and weigh the produce and store it overnight for distribution Thursday to families in need.

Casey DeSantis, an adjudicator from Guinness World Records, verified the weight total Wednesday evening.

Sacramento’s Farm-to-Fork Celebration continues through Sept. 27. Highlights include the free Farm-to-Fork Festival on the Capitol Mall on Sept. 26 and a sold-out dinner on the Tower Bridge on Sept. 27.

Allen Pierleoni: 916-321-1128, @apierleonisacbe Bee staff writer Cathy Locke contributed to this report

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