July Newsletter

Big Changes Are Coming to Cultivate!

We’re bursting at the seams and ready for an expansion. Stay tuned in the coming months for additional details!

Ketchup with Cultivate

A Note From Our Executive Director

One Friday in May, the Board of Directors and many staff members gathered together for a strategic planning session. To many in the business world and outside of it, the term “strategic-planning” can be  daunting. How do you put all of your dreams and goals into one document? How do you take your life’s mission and put numbers and dates to it? Our mission has grown so rapidly and we see so many opportunities to feed our neighbors by redirecting healthy perishable food before it is discarded. I’m inspired by this wonderful group of people who is helping us pave the road to our vision of “No NeighborHungry, No Food Wasted”. Board members took an entire day away from their work and lives to devote to this. We shared ideas and dreams. We laughed, we discussed and compromised, some even shed a few tears. People from all walks of life, bringing different talents and insights to the discussion and, I assure you, Cultivate is better because of it. Our mission relies on the community to be successful and we are thankful for all of our board and committee members, volunteers, food and financial donors, and our amazing staff!

We’ve got a framework for our next few years, mapping out a strategy to achieve our goals. At the core, we believe that we have the potential to feed all of our hungry neighbors by providing the logistics and infrastructure between the businesses that discard edible food and the agencies that serve the hungry in our community. Our goals are lofty and I’m confident we can achieve them. We must because the needs of our community are greater now than ever, even during the Covid19 pandemic. The record high inflation we are all experiencing disproportionately impacts our vulnerable populations, especially children and minorities. 43,000 children in our three-county area have food insecurity. Inflationary prices of groceries and gas force more and more people to make difficult choices. A grandfather skips his prescription refill so he can afford groceries. A veteran takes a second or third job to cover rising fuel costs. Mothers choose to skip dinner so that their kids have more to eat. Canned vegetables are chosen over their healthier but more expensive fresh options. Or vegetables are not chosen at all.

Yes, the needs are great. But so is our plan. In the next year, we will continue to raise funds to build a community cold storage facility. This facility will increase our cold storage capacity by 20X and will be made available free of charge to our community pantries and agencies that feed the vulnerable. We will expand our backpack program by 20%. We will continue to set records on the amount of food redistributed to our pantry partners through Cultivate Cares Food Network. We will restart our culinary training program and welcome high school apprentices, helping them find their passion in cooking and obtain their high school diplomas. We will continue to bring thousands of gracious volunteers through our doors to prepare and process meals. We will rescue another 1.5 million pounds of food in order to lower greenhouse gas emissions and make our earth brighter for our children. We will continue to tell our story and bring more people on our journey. We are all facing the headwinds of financial challenges from record high inflation and a possible recession and we are asking even more from those who can find a way to give of your talent and treasures to help our neighbors in need. Will you join us on our journey to feed the hungry, be more sustainable, and improve the health and education of the most vulnerable in our community? Come in for a tour and see what we are all about. Sign up for a volunteer shift. Pack some meals. Tell your friends. Donate to our journey. Because the need is great but not as great as the
community in which we live.

Jim Conklin
Executive Director

Taste of Hope 2021

Join Us For Taste of Hope!

Join us in celebrating our fifth anniversary of food rescue at Taste of Hope 2022! The event takes place on August 25th from 6-8:30 pm at the Century Center. Enjoy food from various local chefs. Listen to live music from Danny Lerman and Band. Learn about how you can make an impact in our community. No neighbor hungry and no food wasted. This is our vision. Please help us make it a reality by purchasing
a ticket, a table or a sponsorship today!

Staff Spotlight

Sean Corbert

Sean Corbett joined the Cultivate team in November 2021. Now that he’s settled into his role, we sat down with Sean to ask a few questions.

What is your favorite part of the job?
Being able to make a difference and being part of the solution to end hunger

What is the strangest food that you’ve rescued?
Four pallets of 3 ½ foot long logs of pepperoni

What is the BEST food you’ve rescued?
Lobster tails and Tomahawk steaks are probably the most delicious. But the BEST food to rescue is eggs because they are so needed by our pantries.

Why did you choose to work at Cultivate?
I didn’t want to have “just another job”. I want to do a job that matters.

What has working at Cultivate taught you?
With the knowledge I’ve learned, I’ve helped teach my
friends all over the country how they can better support their local communities.



2022 Golf Outing

We had our biggest golf outing ever with 56 teams at Swan Lake! The weather was picture perfect and we
raised nearly $40,000 thanks to our wonderful sponsors and golfers. Special thanks to our title sponsor, Smoker Craft Boats. Mark your calendars for May 15, 2023 when we’ll be back at Swan Lake! It’s a wonderful opportunity to introduce new people to Cultivate’s mission.


Meat Hunger Spark Club

Cultivate’s Meat Hunger 4-H Spark Club is a resource for students in 9th -12th grades that prepares them for interaction with business professionals while performing in a sales capacity. The first club meeting, led by Merritt and Pat Dilts, took place in February. High school students, Emma Basney, Mekah Litteral, Miah Maust, Sophie McLochlin, and Georgia Pogue are the inaugural members. Topics of club discussion have included philanthropy, fundraising, business ethics, sales and marketing, communication, leadership and team building skills. They’ve been putting this knowledge to the test, obtaining donations to purchase 4-H animals. The Farm to Table Program acquired 119 animals at the St. Joseph County 4-H Fair, providing 62,000 meals to the food insecure in our community. The meat will go into backpack meals and will also be distributed to our community pantries. Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry will process the meat that Cultivate purchases at the fair.