Surplus of Potatoes

A Canadian Farmer Overflowing with a Surplus of Potatoes, Generously Distributed Millions of Them

A farmer donates a surplus of potatoes from his Canadian farm to multiple food banks.  

Isaiah Hofer is a potato farmer from Acadia Colony Farms, northeast of Carberry, Manitoba, Canada, who produced a terrific harvest last year. 

He had a bumper crop of potatoes last year and he told CBC, “Last year was an exceptional year for potatoes… people that have been in this industry for the last 40 years, they’ve never seen something like this.”

After fulfilling his regular deliveries and commitments, the potatoes coming out of the ground were unbelievable. Hofer still had a 10 million-pound oversupply of potatoes. 

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He explained, “We had at least almost 100,000 bags of surplus potatoes. In potato language, a bag is 100 pounds.” 

Hofer was not the only one facing this predicament of a surplus of potatoes, all farmers across Canada were baffled by the bumper produce of spuds last year.

He carefully considered the options of turning the potatoes into animal feed, letting them decay in the soil to act as fertilizer, or selling them for a small profit, or even a loss, and therefore earning more from the produce.  

Surplus of Potatoes
The potatoes in transit via the Farmlink Project’s Facebook

At this point, he received an email from the industry group Keystone Potato Producers Association which detailed the work of an American food charity organization called the Farmlink Project, as per the Good News Network.

The Farmlink Project was started in 2020 when logistics were disrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To ensure that food did not end up in trash cans, they connected their delivery trucks with farmers having surplus produce with various food banks.

Since its inception, the Farmlink Project has helped deliver around 100 million pounds of food to various food banks across North America. Hofer connected with many local farmers to donate a total of 12 million pounds of potatoes to Farmlink instead of wasting them. 

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Kate Nelson, chief marketing officer and co-founder of Farmlink, along with Hofer began brainstorming ideas to get rid of the spuds in the best possible way. 

They first approached Foodsharing Ottawa, a Canadian group involved with food rescue and redistribution.

Wendy Leung, the volunteer executive director of Foodsharing Ottawa, was well aware that the humungous potato donation could make a world of difference to a lot of people. 

The next challenge with this massive delivery was the logistical support, climate-controlled facilities, and the required manpower. 

Hofner and Nelson mobilized resources to get the surplus spuds off the ground and loaded them into 115 trucks. 

Surplus of Potatoes
Picture via the Farmlink Project’s Facebook

Thanks to the combined efforts of everyone involved, the potatoes were transported to food banks majorly in Ottawa, British Columbia, Toronto, San Diego, and even New Mexico. 

As per Leung, over 50 local organizations donated the spuds to many households and individuals across the city. 

She termed the saved potatoes as “the Ottawa Great Potato Rescue,” and said it was the largest donation drive she and her organization had ever undertaken. 

The best part of the entire operation was that all the potatoes were claimed within just 8-9 days. 

This shows that potatoes are a well-liked edible item, but it also highlights the current scenario of food insecurity in Canada. As per Statistics Canada, around 9 million Canadians lived with food insecurity in 2022.

Hofer was just glad he could give something back to society when he was blessed with abundance. 

Ryan Turner 1 1