Hidden Harvest’s mission is to glean or “rescue” produce from Coachella Valley fields and packing houses. The Coachella Valley is one of the largest agricultural regions in the nation. Yet few people realize that millions of pounds of nutritious, locally-grown produce are left behind in packing houses and in the fields after the harvest is complete.
Nationally the USDA estimates between 25% - 30% of all food crops are left in the fields after harvest.
Sometimes the produce is left behind because it has grown too large for its packaging or market fluctuations make it unprofitable for the farmer to harvest. Until Hidden Harvest came along in 2001, tons of healthy food was simply plowed under. In addition, Hidden Harvest retrieves hundreds of thousands of pounds of fresh produce left unsold in packing houses.
Despite the appearance of abundance and wealth in the Coachella Valley, poverty is widespread. More than 80% of the valley’s children live in homes at or below the federal poverty line. The valley also is home to a large population of low-income and fixed income senior citizens. These are among the populations Hidden Harvest serves.
Here are some of the other things we do:
We are the only organization in the country that pays low-income, experienced farmworkers to glean fields to feed the poor.
We give away rescued produce to more than 60 agencies that serve the poor. The produce we distribute helps in the fight against America’s greatest health care problems -- diabetes and childhood obesity. We deliver free in our refrigerated truck, or agencies can pick up the produce themselves at our Coachella facility.
We make a concerted effort to hire female crews when possible and provide a childcare stipend.
Hidden Harvest is the leading resource in the Coachella Valley educating the media and the public about hunger and nutrition issues. Have a question about hunger? Ask us. We are experienced in community gardening and federal food programs such as:
National School Breakfast Program
Summer Food Service Program
Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Childern (WIC)
Federal Food Stamp Program
The Farm Bill
Hidden Harvest provides nutrition and cooking classes, on the theory that it’s not enough to give away produce—clients need to know how it helps them and how to use it. To that end, we offer a “Healthy Me” nutrition curriculum for children preschool through kindergarten age, in addition to other educational programs.
Send your tax-deductible contribution to:
P.O. Box 266
Coachella CA 92236
To learn about other ways you can help us fight hunger in the Coachella Valley, contact us.