Partners in Produce

By sharing a little, we can help a lot.

Across central Illinois, our neighbors are struggling with food insecurity, unsure how they'll feed their family or get their next meal. Look around; 14% of Coles County households face food insecurity daily. For those facing health issues like diabetes, the need for nutritious foods, such as fruits and vegetables, is even more urgent.

Partners in Produce offers hope.

University of Illinois Extension Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education staff and Extension volunteers attend the Arthur Produce Auction during the growing season. Growers and auction attendees donate a portion of their produce to help people in their local community, choosing to donate rather than sell at a loss. The produce is then distributed to local food pantries, summer child nutrition programs, and local agencies. 

It all adds up. At a typical auction, 3,000 pounds of produce is donated. So far this year, more than 59,000 pounds of produce was donated and distributed. Partners in Produce is a win for both the farmers and the community. 

Here are ways you can help!

  • Monetary Donations: Money from individuals, area businesses, and organizations will expand the Partners in Produce project, allowing us to increase purchases, provide transportation, and secure local storage for the produce. Local farmers, growers, and farmers markets can give cash donations, too. Local donations stay in the community they're given.
  • Produce Donations: We are expanding our efforts to accept produce donations from gardeners, farmers, and other producers. If you are interested in donating produce, please contact the local Extension office to arrange pick up or drop off.
  • Volunteer: We are seeking volunteers to assist with transporting produce to local community food pantries and organizations. You determine the time you're able to help; even a few hours a week helps. Peak volunteer months are July through October. Please contact the local Extension office for more information.