Founders and History
The History and Founders of Ag Against Hunger
Ag Against Hunger began in 1990 when Tim Driscoll was helping to feed the needy for the Ag Knowledge class in Dallas, TX. While doing his volunteer work, he never dreamed that people could be affected by hunger in the produce rich environment of the Central Coast of California, a place he called home. Astonishingly, people who were at risk of hunger on the Central Coast were not just homeless, but also the working poor and middle class with day to day expenses that meant having to choose between paying rent or buying food. As someone working in the produce industry, Driscoll knew that about 20% of produce grown went to waste and was dumped for various reasons, even though the produce was still edible. He needed a way to get that surplus produce to stop going to waste, and instead help feed people in need.
One year later, with the help of a $23,000 grant from the Harden Foundation, Tim Driscoll, Willy Elliott-McCrea of Second Harvest Food Bank in Santa Cruz, and Jess Brown of the Santa Cruz Farm Bureau started a program called F.O.O.D. Crops (Food Organizations Organizing and Distributing Crops), a division of the Second Harvest Food Bank. The program, known today as Ag Against Hunger, is simple. Growers and shippers contact Ag Against Hunger when they have surplus produce; in turn Ag Against Hunger picks up the produce and distributes it to food banks in the tri-county area to help feed the hungry. The goal of the organization in the beginning was to have 250,000 pounds of produce distributed from growers to food banks. Imagine the founders’ surprise when over 400,000 pounds of produce was donated that first year to help feed the hungry.
Since the first year, Ag Against Hunger has grown by leaps and bounds. We now distribute an average of over 12 million pounds annually to our food bank partners. We also now have five programs for collecting and distributing surplus produce locally and throughout the West Coast. All of our operations are made possible by grants and generous donations from our community and beyond.