Share the Harvest Farm in East Hampton is among the East End farms that have donated high-quality produce to food pantries and have raised awareness about food insecurity on the East End. According to its food pantry partners, the number of families in need here has increased by 350 percent during the pandemic.
"Hunger has long been a hidden problem in our community. The demand for what we do is at an all-time high," said Jess Tonn, the farm's executive director. She explained that the farm expanded its outreach to include additional food pantries, for a total of 11 sites over the main growing season. Its partners also include senior citizens centers, affordable housing complexes, and the Retreat domestic violence shelter. Over the summer and fall, Ms. Tonn said, the farm planted more winter crops to provide food during the colder months.
All the while, the farm worked to balance the health and needs of its employees with the needs of people here in the midst of the pandemic.
Much of the heavy lifting this season was done by Rose Schellinger, the field production manager, and her crew. They had to adjust the staffing structure, implement new safety protocols, revise field plans, launch a delivery program, and develop relationships with the new food pantry partners. Ms. Tonn said she is also thankful for the farm's record number of volunteers this season.