PHOENIX — If you’re looking for a way to get the most bang for your buck when buying fresh and nutritious produce, you’re going to want to check out your local Produce on Wheels Without Waste (POWWOW) event; here you can get up to 70 pounds of fresh produce for a required $15 contribution.
These alternate food markets are hosted Saturday mornings across the Valley from November through June.
HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE
“Produce on Wheels With-Out Waste” is a program of Borderlands Produce Rescue which is a nonprofit organization based in Nogales, Arizona.
According to Yolanda Soto, CEO of Borderlands Food Bank, the produce at these markets was “rescued” from a distribution warehouse in southern Arizona.
“Naturally it’s a consumer-driven market, so maybe the month of May, consumers don’t want eggplant. There’s all this eggplant that’s sitting that wasn’t sold, so we rescue [the produce] from the distribution warehouse,” said Soto in an interview with ABC15.
According to Soto, the food bank rescues between 20 and 40 million pounds of fresh produce per year.
“In the 28 years that we’ve been around, we have rescued about 750 million pounds of produce,” Soto added, stating that the food doesn't end up in a landfill but instead with families across the state.
WHAT’S THE CATCH?
According to Soto, the catch is that Arizonans are being educated to curb food waste and eat nutritiously.
“Naturally people think 70 pounds, that’s way too much for me… but that’s what we’re trying to do, pay it forward — meet your neighbor that you’ve never met by taking a batch of tomatoes. So many different ways of helping others,” said Soto.
IF YOU GO
Anyone can attend these events, the only thing required is a $15 donation.
“They just pull up, we load the produce in their car, and they head on out, and people seem to love that,” said Luke Hennings, pastor at St. Lukes's Lutheran, at a POWWOW event in Mesa.