Every year in Minnesota millions of pounds of produce go un-harvested, while many in the state struggle to get enough to eat. The Hunger-Free Minnesota produce rescue program ensures that excess sweet corn is harvested and delivered to those families and individuals who need it most.
The corn is harvested, cooled, packed and then shipped to the Feeding America network.
Last year, Hunger-Free Minnesota and Cargill completed a pilot program that rescued 600,000 pounds of sweet corn. This year’s effort is expected to rescue up to 1 million pounds of newly harvested surplus sweet corn and reach 20 distribution points across the U.S. Since the surplus recovery program began in the fall of 2012, Cargill has provided $1 million to support Hunger-Free Minnesota’s effort.
After the corn is harvested from Minnesota fields, it is sent to a Cargill grain storage facility, where employee volunteers repack the corn and load it on to refrigerated trucks. The corn is then hydro-cooled using a custom chilling system designed to remove field heat and extend its shelf life. The system sprays the corn with 40-degree water, allowing the corn to cool to a temperature below 50 degrees, sufficient to sustain the corn during delivery to its final food bank destination.