PORTLAND, OR (JUNE 2022) — Food shortages, impacted by soaring gas prices and inflation, are affecting Americans in need and their ability to access staple foods. Food banks are busier than ever before. Detroit’s Forgotten Harvest says demand for free meals has increased 25-45% since December. Many food banks rely on retailers to fill their pantries, but with less spare produce they are having trouble keeping up with demand. One of the most dependable staples is U.S. grown beans and pulses, a great source of plant-based protein. Columbia Grain International (CGI) sources its beans and pulses from U.S. farmers for its new Balanced Bushel line, and is proud to ensure American families get the healthy, affordable foods they need due to the expansion of USDA’s Section 32 Program.
With the federal government expected to spend $2 billion this year under an emergency program, and an expansion of Section 32 funds going towards child nutrition programs and other domestic food programs, the launch of Balanced Bushel couldn’t have come at a more opportune time.
“Balanced Bushel supports our local farm economies by providing them with another outlet for their commodities and provides them directly to people who need it the most,” said Vice President of the Pulse Division, Tony Roelofs. “With COVID and now inflation, there’s a lot of hungry people out there. This is a great way for us to put nutritious food on plates throughout the country and bring value back to the U.S. farmer.”
Balanced Bushel is procured, cleaned, sized, polished and packaged at CGI’s pulse processing plant in Hastings, Nebraska, which has a 286,000-bushel raw product storage capacity with a 60,000 sq ft processing building. CGI anticipates processing over 50,000 MT of pulses per year at this location alone. The line is comprised of peas, lentils, chickpeas, and dry beans, all of which can be incorporated into food aid programs across the country.
“We’re proud to offer farmers another home for their bean and pulse crops, while supplying Americans in need with nutritious foods. It is all part of our mission to nourish the world, safely,” said Roelofs.