In honor of National FFA Week, San Luis Obispo FFA began the Bottomless Basket Project; a new initiative within our chapter designed to combat food insecurity. San Luis Obispo County has an abundance of agriculture; however, 46,000 individuals struggle with hunger in our community. Food insecurity and hunger tends to cause malnutrition within individuals because of limited access to fresh fruits and vegetables. California is currently the number one agricultural producing state in the country and this project not only fought food insecurity but connects families to agriculture within their state.
Through the Salvation Army, SLO FFA adopted 20 families who would receive a “Bottomless Basket.” Each family was given a bag of nonperishable goods, including rice, pasta, beans, diced tomatoes, and many other goods, along with tri tip, chicken thighs, cheese, and fresh eggs harvested from our school farm. All of these products were donated by students enrolled in Ag Classes who wanted to make a difference in their community. Along with the help from students, large donations were made by local farmers that allowed each family to receive a box of produce that included lettuce, grapefruit, chard, broccoli, potatoes, avocados, and numerous other types of fresh produce. Students also planted Jalapeño and Tomato plants at school that were later given to each family, allowing for kids in our community to learn more about growing their own food. The families received a packet with a week’s worth of unique, nutritious recipes that incorporated all food products donated.
Many times food drives are implemented to help families gain non perishable goods during the holiday season but the Bottomless Basket Project addressed the need of fresh fruits and vegetables all year round. SLO FFA’s current goal is to include an additionally five families each time the project is conducted and complete the project twice a year from now on. The project will continue to grow based on connections made with farmers in our community and feedback from the families who received the basket. It was a valuable opportunity to help families in our community to showcase the importance and impact the agriculture industry can make on individuals.
Written by: Kalena Cirone