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Restaurant reviews and food news from Ann Arbor Observer reviewers and blogger Mae Sander.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A Visit to Food Gatherers' Headquarters

Food Gatherers is "The Food Rescue & Food Bank Program Serving Washtenaw County."
Their trucks, which one sees all over town, pick up food from donors and deliver to food pantries and other programs.

A tour of the headquarters of Food Gatherers, the food bank for Ann Arbor and the surrounding county, taught me a large number of things -- enough for more than one blog post. So I'm going to start with the amusing Exotic Food Museum, which is in a single bookshelf in their lobby. Their theme, carrots, also inspires clever items donated to decorate their offices and reception area. I was delighted to see that besides their incredible social conscience and effective work feeding hungry people, they have such a sense of humor.

Is this Mona Lisa the iguana? Or just ordinary iguana soup?

Of course the first thing I noticed when I came into the lobby was the Doña Lisa Garrobo Soup can. Does the iguana (Spanish garrobo) on the label have an enigmatic smile? Or am I too obsessed with finding Mona Lisa everywhere?


A large cardboard box labeled CIVIL DEFENSE CARBOHYDRATE SUPPLEMENT... 1963 is one of the most dramatic items in the Exotic Food Museum.


Many of the items in the collection are novelty cans, but others are normal foods from the past or from other cultures. Most of them came to Food Gatherers along with normal donated foods, but couldn't be distributed because they were past any reasonable use-by date or because they were not legally labeled for consumption in the US.

Food drives where people donate canned goods and packaged goods of course are an important source for Food Gatherers. They go to food pantries, hot-meal programs, and other organizations that distribute food to people in need. I'll write about the details of these programs in my next post.



There are carrot images (and actual carrots too) everywhere at Food Gatherers. Carrots symbolize their commitment to supplying fresh produce along with packaged and canned foods, meat, and many other important nutritional sources to the food pantries and other distributors.

The headquarters offices and warehouse function to manage the operations, collect and sort food, and prepare it for distribution. No end users (families and individuals in need) are served at Food Gatherers headquarters. Rather, representatives of partner organizations come there to select foods from a pantry on site to take back to the many end-user distribution points, and truckloads of food are prepared for delivery to these points.

Carrots are the Food Gatherers' theme. This sign in the lobby
gages the total of food collected this fiscal year.
Giant carrots on the lawn...
Carrot-themed collectibles...
Carrot door handles...
And actual carrots donated by a local supermarket, a sign of the Food Gatherers
commitment to distributing fresh produce ...
All at Food Gatherers' headquarters at 1 Carrot Way, Ann Arbor.

I'll be posting more about this important community organization and how it serves those in need. If you live in Washtenaw County, I encourage you to consider donating food, money, or volunteer time!


posted by Mae Sander at 10:29 a.m. | 0 comments


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