“In the United States, 40 million Americans suffer from food insecurity. They don’t know where their next meal will come from,” said Aidan Reilly, co-founder of Farmlink. “In the meantime, the United States throws away more than £ 100 billion of food each year.”
Launched during the spring 2020 pandemic, Riley said the project was initially intended to help families and food banks struggling.
“There was so much bad news,” said Riley, a junior at Brown University at the time, who was attending classes away from her home in Los Angeles. “Economic collapse, political protests, social protests. I felt like there was little you could do about it.”
Riley and his childhood friend James Kanov were reading and watching the news about food shortages, and they were forced to destroy extra produce that local farms couldn’t sell. I found out, especially restaurants, schools and hotels were closed.
“We were looking at some notable photos, like a pile of potatoes in someone’s backyard or millions of gallons of milk dumped in the soil,” Riley said.
A core group of friends, including Reilly, Kanoff, and Will and James Collier of Connecticut, worked together via Zoom, text, and email to contact the farm from coast to coast.
“We didn’t really intend to start a non-profit organization,” Reilly said. “We just thought,’There are a lot of people suffering. It would be great if we could find one way to help.'”
In California, they found a farmer with 13,000 eggs that they could donate, and Riley offered to pick up and deliver himself.
“That was the first drive,” Riley said. “I’m just trying to take an egg to a food bank on the 405 highway so that it can feed thousands of people, and the egg is bouncing behind and honking. . “
This was the first of many more deliveries. With the catchphrase “We’re going to you,” the group rented a U-Haul truck and tried to pick up and deliver all the food themselves.
“There were a lot of problems at first,” says Reilly. “We broke the axles … we loaded 40,000 pounds of potatoes the wrong way (and) had to try to pull them out using another truck and rope. But I We made it work. “
According to Riley, the students were finally welcomed in the form of a grant from Uber Freight, moving more than £ 1 million of produce from the farm to the food bank in just two months with the help of a professional driver. Changed my passion. In the process, we will project to a large-scale logistics business. As the language spread, young people at home during the pandemic sought help.
“We were fortunate enough to get these people together first,” Riley said. “Pounds of food have moved. This is due to the efforts of this group. They volunteer as much time as possible to feed people they never meet.
Farmlink has worked with more than 100 farms and 300 communities in the United States to rescue and move enough food to distribute more than 64 million meals, Riley said.
“The bigger the Farmlink, the bigger our worldview,” he said. “Everyday Americans, there are people living next to you and me, I don’t know how they feed their children, and that’s exactly what we do.”