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The Food Recovery Program at Tri Cycle Farms Continues To Grow

 A year after beginning a consistent schedule of picking up food and commodity items from Whole Foods Market three days a week, the program expanded to five days. Click here to read about food insecurity, waste, and the beginning of our food recovery program. In general, we have five volunteers per day to transport, sort and deliver the items to our partners, which include LifeSource International, Seeds That Feed and 7Hills Homeless Center. Most days we can get it all in two SUVs, but occasionally we need three to four SUVs to transport all the items we recover in a safe and timely manner.   

Photos by JT Wampler, NWA Democrat Gazette

Photos by Claire Marie Cosmos

Working the Food Recovery Program brings a mixed bag of emotions for volunteers, most of whom are food insecure themselves. Tri Cycle Farms’ third share initiative ensures they also have access to the recovered food and commodities. The excitement and relief from having access to high quality, healthy food that would ordinarily be out of budget is equaled and often surpassed by feelings of exhilaration that come from helping others as well as the, sometimes overwhelming, sadness that there is such a need in our community.

 Last month Tri Cycle Farms was awarded a grant from Whole Cities Foundation that will assist in the efforts to meet that need. We applied for the grant, which is for $5000, on the advisement of the Community Liaison at Whole Foods Market Fayetteville, Allison Chilcote. Allison has been a great help to Tri Cycle Farms and we really appreciate her support and that of Whole Foods Market.

Photo by Claire Marie Cosmos


The funds from the Whole Cities Foundation grant will help purchase a 6 X 12 double axle refrigerated trailer that will be used to transport the recovered food instead of using personal vehicles. We feel this trailer is the best way to address any potential food safety concerns, to reduce our carbon footprint, and to save wear and tear on our own personal vehicles. One trip with this trailer is all it will take to collect and transport everything we recover from Whole Foods Market.

But the trailer is only part of the equation. We will also need a four-door truck with the capacity to pull the loaded trailer and to carry up to four volunteers. The grant will cover about half the cost of the trailer, so we still need to match those funds and find sponsors to raise enough money to also buy the truck.

In the meantime, we are so pleased with the community partnerships we have developed through the growth of this program. Our newest Food Recovery Program partners include The Historic St. James Missionary Baptist Church pantry, Food Not Bombs, and Washington Elementary after school garden club.

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