Food Bank History

Our Story

The Food Bank of Nevada County began in 1986, as a small group of citizens who banded together to attempt to alleviate hunger in our community.  Our organizational structure began with the founder who appointed several assistants to help distribute food. 

As the Food Bank grew, members of the community offered volunteer and organizational assistance. We contacted food retailers as well as distributors and asked for their food products.  Gradually, the list of suppliers grew, and some began to donate on a regular basis. The food was directed, sorted, and channeled through helpful volunteers for community distribution to those in need. We also held twice-yearly food drives.  

We gradually received monies from USDA, United Way of Nevada County, and generous donations from individuals. We rely, since we were founded in 1986, upon foundations, corporations, as well as the private sector and concerned individuals, for eighty percent of our funding. While the Food Bank has to survive primarily on donations we always try our best to serve those individuals and families who find themselves, at times, economically disadvantaged and in need.

The Food Bank of Nevada County is one of the smallest food banks in Northern California.  Toni Thompson, a former Executive Director, had a dream to feed the hungry in our community, and even to this day we utilize the tools and implement the services to continue the ongoing fight against hunger. 

The Food Bank of Nevada County excludes no one in need from our services; persons of all race, creed, sex, religion, age, and national origin, are welcome to partake in our program. No one is turned away.


 The HEALTHY HARVEST PROJECT (Community Garden) was kicked off by the Food Bank's 

Past Executive Director Toni Thompson in April 2011. 


Food Bank Garden History

Toni Thompson Memorial Garden



With support of gardener extraordinaire Ellen Persa, the Rotary Club of Nevada County, a group from Twin Cities Church, individual volunteers, and a lot of sweat equity: the garden was born.


In addition to a special anonymous donation there were several local organic vegetable growers who also committed many starter plants for the first season. Several of our hometown local businesses also donated many necessary materials.


Casey Wood of Grass Valley donated redwood hardwood lumber for the building of raised beds. Rare Earth donated soil and gravel. Peaceful Valley Farm Supply, B&C Ace Hardware, Hills Flat Lumber Co. and Empire Fence also donated materials including fertilizer, weed cloth, straw, mulch, gravel, drip watering components, tools, a storage shed, and additional redwood for the raised beds.


Food Bank recipients were encouraged to work in the garden and learn more about the nutritional value of a harvest and how to cook many fresh vegetables.

With an arrangement early on, with Wendy Van Wagner of In the Kitchen there evolved discounted cooking classes for our recipients, focusing on the produce grown in the garden.


A team of knowledgeable and dedicated volunteer gardeners worked very diligently since they knew how important the fruitfulness of the Food Bank Garden’s healthy harvest provided for the community.