Unity Groves, a family owned grower, packer, shipper operation that provides fresh produce across the country, spearheaded a recognition event recently to honor the front-line farmers, farmworkers, non-profits and elected officials who have supported food distribution efforts with the USDA Farmers to Families Food Box Program.
The program has helped Unity Groves to distribute 75,000 food boxes in South Florida with fresh, Florida-grown produce directly to county residents who face food insecurity in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are proud to be able to provide aid to the South Florida community with food relief during these unprecedent times,” said Louie Carricarte, president of Unity Groves. “We would not be able to do this without the help of the $3B USDA program and the hard work from the Florida farm community, non-profits, elected officials and partners that have successfully joined forces to feed South Florida.”
Those in attendance at the recognition event included: representatives from the offices of Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and Commissioner Eileen Higgins; Homestead Mayor Steven Losner, Islamorada Mayor Mike Forster; representatives from the offices of North Miami Beach Mayor Anthony F. DeFillipo and Commissioner Xavier Suarez; Maria I. Nardi – Miami-Dade County Parks Director; and several dignitaries from local non-profit organizations participating in the program including Salvation Army and Joshua’s Heart Foundation.
Florida Farmers have provided 250,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables to Unity Groves weekly since the program began on May 15.
Local farmers sell food previously destined for restaurants and bulk purchasers to Unity Groves who in turn partnered with the USDA to package 20-pound family-sized boxes with USA grown fresh produce. Unity then transports them to non-profits and governmental entities across South Florida for distribution. Each Farmers to Families Food Box contains 20 pounds of fresh Florida-grown fruits and vegetables.