Island Harvest Food Bank Thrives with Help from BrightView, SiteOne, and Rain Bird
Island Harvest Food Bank receives irrigation donation to reinvigorate farm
Food banks are at critically low levels due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic. With the increased demand for food to help communities in need, BrightView recently stepped up with a donation to Island Harvest Food Bank based in Melville, N.Y.
Island Harvest Food Bank was founded in 1992 and in 2018 established a two-acre farm located on the 212-acre campus of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Brentwood, N.Y. to provide its clients with healthy, locally grown produce. Unfortunately, the food bank had to suspend operations last year at their farm to address the increased demand for people in need of supplemental food support due to the pandemic.
Island Harvest Food Bank proudly re-opened its 2-acre farm in 2021, but the crops suffered due to a lack of irrigation. BrightView learned of the farm’s struggles and offered to help.
“Once I heard that The Island Harvest Food Bank wasn’t able to properly start up again after the shutdown last year, I reached out to our connections, who graciously stepped up to donate everything surrounding this state-of-the-art irrigation system, which will continue giving for years to come,” said Michael Jones, BrightView Business Developer, Northeast. “Since I grew up on Long Island, being able to give back to my community makes this project even more meaningful to me.”
Rain Bird, a global supplier of irrigation products for homes, farms, golf courses, sports arenas, and commercial developments and SiteOne Landscape Supply, the nation’s largest supplier of wholesale goods for green industry professionals, were also made aware of Island Harvest Food Bank's need for irrigation. They also graciously stepped in to assist.
“At SiteOne, one of our core values is being a good neighbor in our communities, so when BrightView came to us and showed us the passion surrounding Island Harvest Food Bank, we were compelled to design a state-of-the-art irrigation system that would suit this important community project,” said Steve Schepers, SiteOne National Account Manager. “What came together was a coordinated relay race with BrightView, SiteOne, and Rain Bird and ended with our local team donating their time to install and train staff and volunteers at the farm how to best utilize this system well into the future.”
The trio came together and decided that drip irrigation was the most efficient way to irrigate crops on the busy Long Island farm. This system allows water to drip slowly to the roots of plants instead of the leaves, minimizing evaporation and preventing disease and pests.
“This fantastic partnership opportunity for all three organizations was strengthened thanks to the shared interest in local community education on intelligent used of water,” said Donn Mann, Rain Bird Regional Manager, Specification. “Despite inventory issues, we were able to utilize our irrigation system of products to deliver an efficient use of water through drip irrigation at the farm for Island Harvest Food Bank, which will aid in producing bountiful crops for years to come.”
Island Harvest Food Bank is a member of Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger-relief organization, with a four-star rating from Charity Navigator. They distribute fresh produce, meat, and non-perishables throughout Long Island and assist thousands of Long Islanders daily through their innovative programming and network of community partners.
“BrightView, SiteOne, and Rain Bird’s generosity ensure that our Healthy Harvest Farm will help produce more nutritious, locally grown fruits and vegetables to benefit our neighbors struggling with food insecurity,” said Randi Shubin Dresner, president & CEO of Island Harvest Food Bank. “It’s through these cooperative partnerships that we can solve some of society’s most pressing issues, such as hunger and food insecurity, and we’re grateful for their assistance.”
Besides irrigation, BrightView also provided more than 200 yards of compost to the farm and the mainline irrigation parts.
“When Michael approached me about this important project, we were happy to find a way to get BrightView and our partners involved,” said Ray Nobile, BrightView Senior Vice President and General Manager, Northeast. “BrightView strives to take care of our communities, so to be able to come together to help a local food bank is a sense of pride for myself and our team.”