Here at Duncan Family Farms® our motto is Taking Care of the Land. Taking Care of People., and we believe in order to provide our customers with the very best produce we must be in touch with the community. This mindset guides all of our decisions.
We hire people that we believe will constantly work to bring our company and the community together. All of our employees are engaged both here, at work, and at home in supporting community initiatives. We have diligently designed our farm to enhance and embrace the communities that surround us.
We want Duncan Family Farms® to work hand in hand with our community neighbors. Our community initiatives range from our Green Waste Program to Be a Leader Foundation, Farm to School, Statewide Gleaning Project to our Annual Walk for the Poor.
All of these initiatives are very close to our hearts and we hope that our involvement and interaction with the community will only strengthen over time.
Green Waste Program
After numerous requests from local municipalities and businesses to take on Green Waste material, we created a location where this material could be dropped off and put to good use. Initiated in 2013, the site is outfitted with a scale and a receiving office and is able to take on landscape material whether chipped or in bulk. A horizontal grinder is used to grind up the material into smaller portions that can then be blended with raw animal manures to begin production of a high quality compost. The goal of the Green Waste site is to divert as much material from landfills as possible and recycle it to help create the natural fertilizer that is used in our vegetable production.
Be a Leader Foundation
At Duncan Family Farms® (DFF) we have always valued our people and believe that team members at all levels are an integral part of our success. It is important to us that our employees, as well as their families, feel valued and supported. Out of a desire to find unique ways to support the children of our DFF Team Members, in January of 2014 we began an exciting partnership with the Be a Leader Foundation.
The Be a Leader Foundation (BALF) was founded in 2002 by Gary and Melissa Trujillo, who were both the first in their families to attend college. After establishing successful careers, they started BALF because they wanted to give back to their community by making higher education accessible for all students. The organization provides intensive programs and support for students from 7th – 12th grade, and BALF programs currently serve over 1,300 students a year. Last year 100% of BALF senior participants graduated from high school and, of these students, 91% went on to college and received a total of almost $1 million in private scholarships.
BALF has worked with thousands of students and families across Arizona to help assure that they have the tools and resources necessary to go to college, and now, thanks to our new partnership, they will be providing support specifically for the children of our employees. A full-time BALF coordinator will devote her efforts and energy into assuring that the children of our DFF employees who are in 7th – 12th grade have whatever support and guidance they need to be prepared to earn a college degree after high school.
We are very proud of this partnership and look forward to watching many of the next generation of our extended DFF Family graduate from college!
Farm to School
We have a longstanding commitment to educate our children about where our food comes from and the benefits of eating healthy. Our involvement spans over 25 years, from our early days as an educational based Agritourism farm, to today’s active support of Farm to School programs. In 2015 and beyond, we will focus our efforts on getting healthy, local, farm fresh produce onto children’s plates in our schools and act as an Advisory Council Member to the State of Arizona Farm to School program.
Farm to School is a nationwide initiative based on connecting local farmers and schools in an effort to enhance school food.
“Everything is right about farm to school: healthy fresh food, enhanced economic opportunity for farmers, and education for children about where food comes from. That’s a trifecta!”Kathleen Merrigan, Deputy Secretary, U.S.
Department of Agriculture (April 2009-March 2013)
Statewide Gleaning Project
Giving back to the Community by Supporting Arizona Food
Banks: Our farm has been a long-time supporter of the Association of Arizona Food Banks, and helping to feed hungry families has always been an important mission at Duncan Family Farms®. In 1993 Arnott Duncan helped to establish the Statewide Gleaning project, an innovative program where inmate labor is used to ‘glean’ fresh produce from the farm’s fields. Gleaned produce is then donated to Arizona Food Banks. Through this unique program, the farm has been able to donate approximately one million pounds of produce to Arizona Food Banks each season, for a total of more than 15 million pounds to date. The program has also become a national model and has been replicated in other farming areas around the state and country.
Partners To Which We Donate Food:
Walk for the Poor
“The Friends of the Poor® Walk/Run began as a national program intended to provide local Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP) Conferences and Councils with additional funds to help support their special works projects. Today, that philosophy continues. Conferences and Councils use the funds from this event to help local people living in poverty. The Friends of the Poor Walk/Run® aids the work of SVdP Conferences and Councils, who provided 11.5 million service hours to help almost 15 million people last year.
The Walk began in 2008 and has grown each year. Total, the Walk raised $8.8 Million in its first six years. In 2013, it raised a total of $2.1 Million raised, and boasted 232 walk locations, and 22,000 walkers.
100% of the funds that are raised at the Walk stay in our community to help those living in poverty (most non-profit pledge-a-thon walks across the U.S. are forced to give a cut to their National Office, or part of the registration fee goes to that organization’s National Office; but not with St. Vincent de Paul).
In 2013, Duncan Family Farms® provided the largest matching gift of any organization for all 230+ walk events across the United States.