San Francisco Food Bank Board Member Chosen as Jefferson Award Finalist

Creating a program that distributes 80 million pounds of produce to California’s three million residents who are at risk of hunger

San Francisco, CA, January 21, 2010 --( For pioneering the Farm to Family program, which distributes millions of pounds of fresh produce to California Food Banks, San Francisco Food Bank Board Member, Gary Maxworthy has been chosen as a finalist to receive the Jefferson Award. The Jefferson Award is a prestigious national recognition system which honors community and public service in America.

The “Farm to Family” program directly connects California food growers and packers to food banks, distributing fresh fruits and vegetables which aren’t considered marketable – due to shape, size, slight blemishes or overproduction – but are still delicious and healthy to eat. In the past, this surplus produce was ploughed under, fed to animals or dumped in landfills.

Thanks to the Farm to Family program, an estimated 80 million pounds of produce is distributed annually throughout food banks in California and distributed to the states three million residents who are at risk of hunger. The San Francisco Food Bank accounted for 21 percent of the produce distribution in the state, delivering nearly 17 million pounds of produce last year.

Drawing on 30 years’ experience in the food brokerage industry, Maxworthy developed the program with the San Francisco Food Bank. The program which distributes more than 60 varieties of fresh fruit and vegetables is now run via the California Association of Food Banks. Clients of 40 food banks across the state benefit from Farm to Family, with more than 100 different growers and packers participating.

“It’s an honor to receive the recognition from the Jefferson Award for Farm to Family,” Maxworthy said. “I hope this program can serve as an example, helping other agricultural states divert healthy produce that might otherwise end up in landfills, to feed the millions in our country who are going hungry.”

“We are pleased and proud of Gary and the Farm to Family program,” said San Francisco Food Bank Executive Director Paul Ash, “Thanks to his efforts, over half of what the San Francisco Food Bank distributes is fresh produce.”

The Jefferson Award was set up in 1972 by the former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis to honor ordinary people who do extraordinary things for others. By honoring the recipients, it is the goal of the Jefferson Awards to inspire others to become involved in community and public service. Past Jefferson Awards winners include four Supreme Court Justices, seven Secretaries of State; as well as Oprah Winfrey, Alan Greenspan, Peyton Manning, Colin Powell, Lance Armstrong, Barbara Bush and Bill and Melinda Gates.

Maxworthy joined the San Francisco Food Bank in 1994, as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer, after retiring as president of Bromar, Inc. In 2007, he received a $10,000 Purpose Prize, “recognizing Americans over 60 who are leading a new age of social innovation,” for his work with Farm to Family. Maxworthy is currently a Board Member of the San Francisco Food Bank, and is committed to expanding Farm to Family’s reach and volume.

San Francisco Food Bank
Stacy Newman