The Food Bank of Northeast Georgia was founded in 1992 in an effort to end hunger in northeast Georgia. That year, the food bank distributed approximately 350,000 pounds of food to 36 agencies. The organization has grown tremendously since then, distributing nearly 12 million pounds of food through more than 225 partner organizations in 2015.
In 2016, the Food Bank earned a “High Achievement” ranking from The American Institute of Baking Food Safety Audit, the most stringent food safety standards in the food industry. The Food Bank of Northeast Georgia is one of many food banks in the U.S. to be certified by AIB and one of the few to receive the ranking of “High Achievement.” The AIB ranking also places the Food Bank within the top 5 to 10 percent of food safety in the U.S. and in the top 10 percent of the food industry.
The Food Bank expanded its reach into the Georgia mountain region in 2016 by opening a distribution warehouse and food processing center in Rabun County. The $6.4 million food hub includes a production facility, flash freezing capabilities, a teaching kitchen and a food distribution center. Completion of a commercial kitchen was completed in mid 2016. Through the food hub, the Food Bank aims to combat hunger and spur economic development in northeast Georgia and serve as a small business incubator for farmers by providing local food businesses a space and equipment to produce a marketable product.
The teaching kitchen has been a wonderful addition to the Farm to Table movement as Rabun County is the Farm to Table Capital of Georgia. The director of the teaching kitchen showcases in various ways healthy eating. By using produce and products that are grown locally and regionally, the director offers classes from local to nationally acclaimed chefs to teach folks basic skills in the kitchen and how to prepare full meals. She is also showing the youth in the area that eating fresh and local can be just as delicious as eating fast food and processed foods. The program targets kids at a young age so that their habits are corrected at early.
The managers at the food bank, also are working with the farmers in the area to combine all the different farmers markets in the community to one location on the same day. This is also a great way for our local residents and visiting guests to the community to be able to go to one place and purchase fresh and local products for their family meals. This further enhances our Farm to Table culture here in Rabun County.
For information about events and programs taking place at the Food Bank Teaching Kitchen in go to www.foodbanknega.org/programs/4.
The Food Bank of Northeast Georgia is located in Clayton at 46 Plaza Way, Clayton, Georgia. Please contact them at 706-782-0780 as well.
Hours of operation are 8:00am – 4:30pm Monday thru Friday and during event special times.
46 Plaza Way, Clayton, GA 30525
Open – Monday – Friday 8:00am – 4:30pm