Skip to main content
Michigan Farm Bureau Family of Companies

District 9 honored for most 2023 Harvest for All donations

District 9’s Madeleine Smeltzer (right) accepted a $1,000 check from state Young Farmer Committee Chair Abby Vittore (left) as a prize on behalf of the district, which will be donated to Food Rescue of Northern Michigan. Image credit: Michigan Farm Bureau
Date Posted: May 10, 2024

Michigan Farm Bureau (MFB) recognized the outstanding efforts of members in District 9 to help those in need through the Harvest for All program during the organization’s Young Farmer Leaders Conference, held in Port Huron.

Harvest for All challenges Farm Bureau members across the country to share agriculture's bounty and help neighbors in need, by donating surplus agricultural commodities, non-perishable food products, money and/or volunteer hours to local food banks.

Comprised of the Benzie-Manistee, Mason, Missaukee, Northwest Michigan and Wexford County Farm Bureaus, District 9 accounted for more than 85% of the surplus agricultural commodities donated by county Farm Bureau’s across the state, totaling 166,580 pounds.

Much of District 9’s donation came from Wunsch Farms, which donated roughly 140,000 pounds of apples to the Food Rescue of Northwest Michigan after the farm learned it lost a 30-year apple contract.

“After learning about food insecurity in Michigan, through a Michigan Farm Bureau Rural Taskforce meeting, I brought up this idea to figure out how to give up as much of that surplus as we could,” said Northwest Michigan Farm Bureau member Isaiah Wunsch, CEO of Wunsch Farms on Old Mission Peninsula.

“Instead of our story being one of leaving that crop behind, we thought we could do something creative and use as much of the surplus for food insecurity.”

Wexford County Young Farmer Chair Madeleine Smeltzer accepted a $1,000 check as a prize on behalf of the district, which will be donated to Food Rescue of Northern Michigan.

Food Rescue’s mission is to increase access to healthy food and decrease food waste. Partnering with 75 farms and 103 grocery stores, bakeries and food processors, Food Rescue distributes 8,000 pounds per day of excess and donated food to 78 food pantries and meal sites in northwest lower Michigan. Food Rescue delivers at no cost to the pantries and meal sites. Since starting in 2008, Food Rescue has distributed 20 million pounds of food, worth $35 million.

Coordinated by Michigan Farm Bureau's State Young Farmer Program, the state’s Harvest for All contest has been encouraging Michigan Farm Bureau members to feed Michigan for 18 consecutive years.

Collegiate Farm Bureau members recognized

Alongside this challenge to county Farm Bureaus is a complimentary contest targeted at Collegiate Farm Bureau Chapters, with Muskegon collegiate chapter being recognized.

This past fall, Muskegon collegiate members held a food and school supply food drive on behalf of the Jayhawk Pantry, whose mission is to alleviate food insecurity among its students by providing emergency food, school supplies, and hygiene essentials to Muskegon Community College students in need. Their efforts collected 36 pounds of school supplies and 96 pounds of food — the most of any collegiate Farm Bureau in the state — and earned them $250 from MFB to provide an additional donation to the Jayhawk Pantry.

Jon Adamy

Jon Adamy

Media Relations Specialist
(517) 323-6782 [email protected]