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News Release
RI Department of Environmental Management
235 Promenade St., Providence, RI 02908
(401) 222-2771 TDD/(401) 222-4462

For Release:

September 29, 2000


Sally Spadaro 222-4700 ext. 2426
Stephanie Powell 222-4700 ext. 4418


PROVIDENCE – The Department of Environmental Management’s Division of Agriculture and Resource Marketing, in collaboration with several farm organizations, is sponsoring a food drive among farmers from October 2 through October 6 to benefit the Rhode Island Community Food Bank. The food drive is designed to provide more fresh fruits and vegetables to needy Rhode Islanders, and promote a positive awareness of the state’s farming community.

"Rhode Island farmers are the source of much of the fresh fruits and vegetables that the Food Bank distributes, and the contributions that many farmers already make throughout the summer are integral to the Food Bank’s efforts," said Kenneth Ayars, DEM’s Agriculture Chief. "The October food drive is a special one-time appeal for contributions."

Area contacts will arrange pickups by the Food Bank at farms and at specific drop-off locations. The Food Bank uses a truck specifically for produce recovery so farmers can donate products without having to provide transportation.

Farmers who wish to contribute should call the following contact person in their area:

  • Washington County, West Greenwich and East Greenwich – Marilu Soileau of the US Department of Agriculture’s Farm Services Agency at 828-3120
  • Bristol and Newport County – Karen Menezes of the RI Center for Commercial Agriculture at 874-7142
  • Providence County, Coventry, West Warwick and Warwick – Peter Susi of DEM’s Division of Agriculture and Resource Marketing at 222-2781 ext. 4517 or Al Bettencourt of the RI Farm Bureau at 647-3570.

Farmers can also contact Armin Graf of the Food Bank at 826-3073 ext. 250 if they already contribute to the Food Bank on a regular basis.

Bernie Beaudreau, Executive Director of the RI Food Bank, said, "We are trying to increase the nutritional value of the food we distribute and this is a great way to do it. We hope that more farmers will contribute fresh produce on a regular basis."

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