Joe Wyatt
Published August 19, 2019

The High Plains Food Bank will be doling out free fresh produce – upwards of 1,000 pounds per visit – from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on the first eight Tuesdays this fall semester on the Washington Street Campus of Amarillo College.

GardenINAdditionally, some vegetables produced by students, faculty and staff at the AC greenhouse will serve to bolster the first-come, first-served giveaways.

The giveaways are part of the Food Bank’s Mobile Harvest program, which has coordinated regular weekly distributions of fresh produce at two other city locations since last summer.

“We definitely want to spread the wealth and Amarillo College provides not only a central location, but a captive audience of students who we believe can benefit from the convenience and availability of some healthy, nutritious produce,” said Justin Young, director of nutrition and education for the High Plains Food Bank.

“We’re approaching this as an eight-week pilot program,” he said. “We’ll assess the results and see where we go from there.”

The varieties of fruits and vegetables to be given away each week will depend on what perishables the Food Bank has in stock at that time.

The Mobile Harvest truck will open its doors for the first time at AC at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 27 on 24th Street, under the pedestrian bridge and adjacent to the Oeschger Family Mall, which is centrally located on the Washington Street Campus.

The College’s STEM Community began mobilizing some months ago in an effort to contribute AC-grown veggies to the cause, said Dr. Claudie Biggers, professor of biology.

“A group of faculty and staff volunteers planted the first donated seeds last spring,” Biggers said. “We can grow fresh produce year-round in our greenhouse, so we’re looking forward to combining our produce yields with produce from the Food Bank.

“We are planning to start a Horticulture Club, and we’ve also built a component into our agronomy classes in which students will be able to participate and, in essence, it will be a case of students growing food for students. We’re excited.”