Rooted in frugality, Styma’s mother-in-law realized years ago that their family farm needed to find a home for their blemished potatoes. She knew ones with cuts or dents would bake, boil or fry the same as any perfect potato. With that, she contacted the Food Bank and a relationship blossomed. “It’s all about having relationships with those farmers and being able to call people like the Stymas when a Food Bank needs potatoes and is running low during Thanksgiving week,” Clark says. “People like that come through for us time and time again with great product that might not be able to move through the traditional market.” The Food Bank Council of Michigan acquires Michigan-grown produce through three main programs. Since 1990, the council has partnered with the State of Michigan to receive Michigan Agricultural Surplus System grants. The annual grant, valued at $1.27 million, allows the Council to accept produce donations from farms and reimburse the farms for trucking, packaging and labor. With this program, more than 9 million pounds of produce enter the food bank network each year instead of going to waste.