Blog Posts

May 19, 2014

In 2013, Florida Organic Growers received a Specialty Crop Block Grant from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) to develop the Fresh Access Bucks Program to increase sales of Florida grown fruits and vegetables to Florida consumers. This program increases access to and consumption of healthy, locally produced fruits and vegetables for low-income Florida residents through an incentive program at Farmers Markets for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP- formerly the Food Stamp Program).

For example, an individual spending $10 on fruits and vegetables at a participating market can buy $20 worth of fruits and vegetables- increasing revenues for specialty crop farmers and making specialty crops much more affordable for low-income Florida residents.

The Fresh Access Bucks program works…

  • To incentivize the use of federal nutrition assistance benefits to purchase Florida grown fruits and vegetables.
  • To increase the demand for locally grown fruits and vegetables in underserved communities.
  • To build a highly visible network of Florida farmers markets implementing innovative programs.

Potential Impact of Farmers Markets EBT and Fresh Access Bucks

  • Nationally in 2012, 40,000 incentive program consumers purchased fresh, healthy produce from local farmers at partnering farm-to-retail venues, and increase from 20,000 participants in 2010.
  • 90% of incentive program consumers reported increasing their consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • On average, 27% of total market sales at participating farm-to-retail venues were from incentive program consumers.
  • In response to increased sales, farmers expanded acreage/production, diversified products and added additional hoop houses or greenhouses.
  • Currently small scale farmers receive less than 1% of the approximately $5 billion in federal nutrition assistance dollars that flow into Florida.  With more funds spent locally, it would support a more resilient, local economy.

Participating Farmers Markets

If you are a farmers market and interested in participating in this program, please contact Carmen Franz


  • Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Specialty Crop Block
  • Jane’s Trust
  • Duval County Health Department
  • Health Foundation of South Florida
  • Wholesome Wave

More Information and Resources

2013 Program Outcomes

Fresh Access Bucks Program Description


Fresh Access Bucks Application (for farmers markets)

March 06, 2013

A huge thank you is due to Dixie Egg Company who today delivered a whopping donation of 240 cases of fresh eggs to Nourishment Network North Florida's Jessie Street distribtuion center. That is a total of 86,400 eggs! 


Who will eat these 86,400 eggs?

Nourishment Network will distribute the eggs to the hungry men, women and children of north Florida. In 2011 a study called Map the Meal Gap shed light on a very alarming fact: in Nourishment Network North Florida's 17-county service area, 368,200 people are hungry. That's why this generous egg donation is such a big deal. It will help make a difference in the lives of our hungry neighbors. 

Find out how you can get involved with Nourishment Network. 

February 22, 2011

Elliot Darkatsh - Director of Food Procurement



v. gleaned, glean•ing, gleans
To gather grain or other produce left by reapers.
1. To gather grain or produce left behind by reapers.
2. To collect bit by bit
3. To strip (as a field) of the leavings of reapers

Have you ever been gleaning? Ever thought about what that term really means? The definition is listed above. It is the act of picking fruits or vegetables (or grains) that were left behind during the initial harvest.

In its simplest form, it is the act of saving food from being plowed under and going to waste. Often, farmers simply can’t afford to incur the labor, materials and transportation costs to retrieve the “leftovers” – and as a result each season millions of pounds of fresh food is left in the fields.

On Saturday, Feb. 19, more than 40 high school students from Chets Creek Church in Jacksonville got an opportunity to experience the process firsthand when they traveled to Hastings, Fla., to glean broccoli. The majority of them had never been on a farm, or even knew what it meant to ‘glean’ broccoli from a field. 

It turned out to be a wonderful experience, and they asked if they could go again! 

The opportunity was made possible by Nourishment Network’s partnership with Society of St. Andrew (SOSA) and SOSA’s relationships with local farmers, as well as the beautiful weather we enjoyed that day. 

In less than three hours, this group of high school kids picked 2,745 pounds of broccoli (four pallets worth)!  Nourishment Network was also able to pick up five bins of cabbage and two bins of citrus from neighbor farms – ultimately providing a full truck of fruits and vegetables to families and individuals experiencing hunger in our north Florida communities.

We are very grateful for those farmers that allow us this opportunity and to the kids that worked so hard and, in the process, created memories that will last a lifetime.

SOSA has gleaning opportunities on most Wednesdays and Saturdays during the growing season, which lasts from November to June. If your group is interested in gleaning, please contact Nourishment Network volunteer coordinator Jessie Sanders at 904.517.5560,

(All photos provided by Jeff Taylor Photography)





March 01, 2011

On Thursday, Feb. 3, 2011, officials from 121 Financial Credit Union visited the Nourishment Network North Florida warehouse to learn more about the issue of hunger and what Nourishment Network is doing to help solve the problem. The visit was a rousing success and was accompanied by a donation of $1,165 -- which will create food for 8,155 meals for people in need.

"I am speaking for the whole group, we had such a great time on the visit we learned so much. I know for a fact I told several people about my experience and some of the numbers you went over," shared 121 employee David Cornelius in an e-mail to Nourishment Network.

Thanks to 121 Financial Credit Union for helping us fight hunger in north Florida!

121 Financial Credit Union check presentation


March 08, 2011

CBS News recently profiled families in crisis due to the ongoing economic recession, and the impact this is having on our nation's children. Real families are being forced to make difficult decisions between buying food or paying for other basic necessities. Families just like these live in Jacksonville and other north Florida communities as well. We just don't see them on the national news.

The work we do at Nourishment Network North Florida helps people just like those depicted here. Will you be part of the solution?

Watch the video below, and click here to see additional content about this story on the CBS News website.

December 13, 2012

Trinity Lutheran Church operates a growing food pantry in Riverside/Avondale, which makes a huge impact in the neighborhood. The pantry is operated solely by volunteers and distributes food to the needy six days per week. We recently received this amazing story from the folks at Trinity and wanted to share. BACKGROUND: The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) is a program of the United States Department of Agriculture that sources and provides food to needy community members nationwide through a network of food banks. In north Florida, Nourishment Network is the designated TEFAP contractor, which means that the federal government trucks the TEFAP food to our warehouse on Jessie Street and we distribute it to our member agencies across our 17-county service area. About 14 percent of all food distributed by Nourishment Network comes from the TEFAP program. TEFAP food is allocated and distributed by county as determined by the USDA and based on poverty levels. The USDA controls when and how much TEFAP food is delivered to Nourishment Network.  

From the Trinity Lutheran Chuch Food Pantry

Another Miracle on Park Street

The first week in December 2012, our food pantry director, Tom Culverwell, and Pastor Robert were discussing the food situation in the food pantry. The food supply was very low, and so were the funds used to purchase food. In fact, Tom had to cancel a bulk purchase order because paying for the order would not leave any funds to purchase food from the sharing floor at Nourishment Network North Florida. Tom was so concerned about the situation that he asked everyone he met to please pray that God wouid provide a solution. Many people prayed, and God answered their prayer. And when God answers prayers, especially for one of his ministries, he delivers. 

On Friday, December 7, 2013, Tom received a phone call from Joe Molenda, his food pantry co-director. Joe had received a phone call from Anjella Theodore, agency coordinator at Nourishment Network, who asked Joe if the Trinity Food Pantry could accept a large amount of USDA TEFAP food. Joe told Anjella to give Tom Culverwell a call and discuss this with him. Anjella cailed Tom and told him they had received a large shipment of surplus USDA TEFAP food and it needed to be distributed to their participating agencies. USDA TEFAP food is the free food that the Trinity food pantry receives at the beginning of each month. Many of the food pantries that receive food from Nourishment Network are small, one day a week operations with very limited storage space, and they could not accept the food because they didn‘t have any place to store it. 

Anjella said they could deliver four pallets of food and asked if our food pantry could accept it. Tom told her we would be delighted to receive it. On Monday, December 10th, Joe Molenda was at the food pantry early to meet the delivery truck. When the truck arrived, it had a total of 12 pallets of food, weighing 21,088 pounds! There was so much that Joe had to call in additional help. Ron Gross and Don Rull were already at the food pantry when the truck arrived, but they, along with Joe, needed additional help to handle the large amount of food. Bill Hiers, Gary Hautau, and Byron Bollingberg arrived to help bring everything in to the food pantry. 

Once the delivery was completed and put inside the food pantry and church garage, Joe called Tom to report how much food was received. Joe talked about how wonderful it was for the USDA and Nourishment Network North Florida to give us so much food. Tom answered they may have been the method of delivery, but it was God who provided the food. He provided the people who grew, processed, packaged, and delivered the food. When God answers prayer, He answers them in a BIG WAY!

January 30, 2013

The award-winning acapella group New Directions Veterans Choir performs Friday, February 8, at the Church of the Good Shephard on Stockton Street. They will perform their unique brand of doo-wop, soul, gospel and pop music which has been featured on "America's Got Talent." Perhaps the most exciting part of the performance is that they will also be hosting a food drive to support Nourishment Network North Florida. Anyone who purchases one full-price adult ticket and brings two (2) canned goods will receive a second ticket free of charge! 

Click here to get your tickets. 


January 30, 2013

On Saturday, January 26, 2013, a group of voulnteer gleaners accompanied Nourishment Network North Florida staff members to pick citrus fruit. Seventeen local homeowners generously offered the fruit of the citrus trees to be donated to Nourishment Network. After a long day, 20,428 pounds of nutritious fruit was harvested. This fruit will be distributed to hungry men, women and children living in north Florida. 

Visit the gleaning page to learn more about how you can get involved as a volunteer gleaner or to donate your fruit to feed the hungry. 

February 04, 2013


Nourishment Network is recruiting volunteers to help with our community gardens and farm food donation programs.  These are fun family, organization or individual activities that gets you up and moving out in the fresh air. And these are great ways to build relationships and make a difference to others who need food. All the food we harvest in these programs helps to feed those who are hungry in our community.

Community GardensThis is a new opportunity for small groups to maintain existing community gardens in North Florida, and help plant new ones. Community gardens provide nutritious food to low-income households and non-profit agencies that serve people in need.  This is a fun volunteer activity for most ages.  Tasks may involve watering, weeding, planting, harvesting, or transporting food (training provided). To learn more, sign up for our mailing list by emailing Katie Salz at

Farm GleaningGleaning refers to the collection of crops from farmers' fields/groves after the farmer is finished with them.  Nourishment Network has gleaning opportunities throughout the year. The food that remains behind when the farmer is done with a crop is good nutritious food. This food could be from fields that were mechanically harvested, leaving some of the crop behind. Or the food may not worth the cost to the farmer to harvest due to labor costs or expected low profit from markets. Or it simply could be market seconds. Farmers grow food to feed people and that is always their preference to leaving food in the field.  Nourishment Network of North Florida is working with farmers to rescue this food to feed those who are hungry in our community. Click here to learn morecontact Janet Streit at