The seventh annual Nutrition Summit was held on Monday, October 15th at Twin Lakes Church in Aptos. Sponsored by Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz County, this event brings local non-profit organizations together for a half-day to learn, share ideas and explore new ways to collaborate. The event featured a panel discussion, nutrition workshops, healthy lunch and presentation of the 2012 Food Donor of the Year award to Happy Boy Farms.
Owned by Greg Beccio and based near Watsonville, Happy Boy Farms has been growing organically for over fifteen years. Dozens of varieties of fresh vegetables and fruits are harvested, washed and packed by hand and personally delivered to farmers’ markets, local restaurants and grocery locations throughout the Bay Area.
Happy Boy Farms has been donating fresh organic produce to Second Harvest since 2009, averaging more than 55,000 pounds annually. In the 2011-2012 fiscal year, they donated nearly 60,000 pounds of produce including broccoli, carrots, cucumbers, beets, peppers, squash, radishes, tomatoes, salad greens and herbs.
The achievements and prolonged existence of the farm are directly due to the dedication and enthusiasm of its employees, some of whom have been with the farm since the beginning. The farm employs 60 full time staff year-round and 160 employees in the peak season.
At 75% of the farmers’ markets where they sell their produce, Happy Boy partners with charitable anti-hunger groups and churches that collect produce donations at the end of day for distribution to people in need. Danny Lazzarini, Farmers’ Market Coordinator, says, “Giving back to the people in need in the community is important to us. We make our produce accessible through donations in the communities where we farm and sell at farmers’ markets. We are privileged to be in this place where we have such abundance. It feels good to share that.”
“There are so many people who work in agriculture here who can’t afford to eat what we grow,” adds Lazzarini. “For us, it is really important to donate produce so these families can have a varied, healthy diet. We are privileged to be in this place where we have such abundance. It feels good to share that.”
Thank you to all the presenters and panelists that participated in this year’s Nutrition Summit and to all the sponsors, including Champions for Change, Go for Health!, New Leaf Community Markets and Deluxe Foods of Aptos.
Special thanks to Twin Lakes Church for hosting the event.