Model & Strategy

Feeding Texas, a state association of food banks partnered with hunger relief organization, Feeding America, has incubated a game-changing solution to put more high-quality produce into food banks – and onto the plates of their beneficiaries. The organization has piloted a regional produce Co-Op which works directly with growers to source high-quality, fresh produce that would otherwise be rejected by retailers. The Co-Op obtains produce at a low cost, sells it at a low margin to member food banks, and manages the logistics, “breaking bulk” into shipments that are the right size and mix for each individual community.

Feeding Texas logo
At a Glance
Founded: 2016
Food & Agriculture
Location of work: Domestic, Southwest
Feeding Texas Produce Co-Op
1524 South IH-35
Ste. 342
Austin, TX 78704
Feeding, leading, strengthening until hunger is behind us.
Simon Powell headshot
Meet Simon Powell

Simon Powell is the Chief Operating Officer for the North Texas Food Bank.  A successful supply chain and operations executive, Simon has developed execution and strategic planning expertise through his prior experience with Fortune 100 companies. In his role as COO, Simon manages all operations and information technology functions – and provides vision, leadership, and management to ensure that the Food Bank has in place the proper operational controls, administrative and reporting procedures, and systems.

Prior to coming to the North Texas Food Bank, Simon was at Hewlett-Packard where he managed the end-to-end replacement parts supply chain for North and South America. Before H-P, Simon was Director of Logistics for Samsung Telecommunications America, where he oversaw transportation, materials management and warehousing for all telecommunications products within the United States. Simon was born in the United Kingdom and immigrated to the United States in 1995. He holds an MBA as well as a Masters in Theology from the University of Dallas. Simon is active in his church community and lives with his wife Angela and three children in Plano.

IMPACT

Feeding Texas incubated the first regional Co-Op in the southern Texas town of Pharr, near the US-Mexico border, over the last year. In that time, the Co-Op shipped close to 31M pounds of produce through its facility, increasing member food banks’ variety of produce from 8 varieties to 17, in 18 food banks (with another 19 coming online next year), at an all-in cost below their initial target of 15 cents per pound.

 

The Texas pilot is the beginning of what will ultimately be a South US/Mexico region, a crucial entry point for the ~70% of its vegetables and ~40% of fruits that the US sources from Mexico.

At scale, the team envisions a national organization with 5 regional hubs, each with a regional office that oversees logistics and maintains relationships with area food banks; mixing centers that “break bulk” and mix produce, in a prime growing regions such as Texas/Mexico or California’s Central Valley; and a sourcing office that manages grower relationships.

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