He’s got dirt in his blood.” That’s how Karla Young describes her husband, Tyler, who built the Young Family Farm into a thriving agribusiness through a combination of hard work, education and sheer force of will. “He is one of the very few people who can say he knew what he wanted to do when he was five years old. He wanted to be a farmer,” said Karla.
But he is far more than that to thousands of Rhode Island families who benefit from the fruits of his labor. The fresh potatoes, turnips and squash appearing at food pantries across the state are often coming directly from his fields. During fiscal year 2013 (July 1, 2012–June 30, 2013), the Youngs donated 241,000 pounds of fresh produce to the Food Bank. They are among a growing number of local farmers that supply the Food Bank with fresh produce as part of their commitment to their community.
Tyler sees this as a purely logical solution to a local problem. When he has surplus produce that can’t be sold, he has two choices: “I could give it to the neighbor’s cows or I could feed hungry kids. This is a way for us to give back. We can’t give monetary donations. We do our giving through food.”
After having raised three girls on the farm, Karla and Tyler understand the importance of putting healthy food on the table for a growing family.
“We always fed our kids fresh fruits and vegetables,” said Karla. “It helps their brain power. It helps them perform better in school. It builds muscle and bones.”
“I hate to hear about kids going hungry,” said Tyler. “So there’s my passion. It’s just a good Christian thing to do. It’s part of who we are.”