Israeli farmers donated 26,450 tons of surplus fruit and vegetables to Israelis in need over the past year through Leket Israel-the National Food Bank. During that period, 290 additional farmers joined the NGO’s existing network of 754 farmers in contributing surplus produce to those in need.
The farms, both privately owned and part of the kibbutz network, are located throughout the country—from the Golan Heights in the north to the Arava in the south.
“We don’t always see the people in need, making it harder to grasp the true extent of nutritional insecurity in Israel,” said Oren Sabah, a third-generation farmer from Moshav Ahituv. “I believe that having access to fresh fruits and vegetables is the right of every citizen and I am grateful to Leket Israel for the opportunity to contribute and help those in need.”
Mati Nitzan, a 90-year-old farmer from Moshav Rishpon, holds the distinction of being the oldest contributor to Leket.
“On a daily basis, we witness the immense importance of our collaboration with farmers, who are the largest contributors of food in Israel,” said Joseph Gitler, founder and chairman of Leket.
“Despite the numerous obstacles encountered within the agricultural sector, these farmers persistently demonstrate their generosity by donating their excess produce. [This] not only provides sustenance, but also guarantees that the recipients have access to nutritious fruits and vegetables they might otherwise lack. Additionally, it gives the recipients the feeling of being cared for,” he added.
Leket Israel, now marking its 20th anniversary, is the largest food rescue organization in Israel. In 2022, the organization rescued 1.9 million hot meals from hotels, corporate cafeterias and IDF army bases, in addition to the tens of thousands of tons of agricultural produce from farmers and packing houses.
The donated food was distributed through a network of 265 nonprofit partner agencies, feeding 234,000 Israelis in need each week.