What’s Growing On: Florida’s Peanut Butter Challenge

Florida produces the third largest number of peanuts in the country.
Published: Oct. 12, 2022 at 11:47 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - The challenge is simple; donate any size jar of unopened and unexpired peanut butter to combat hunger. And with the peanut industry being a vital piece of North Central Florida’s economy, this challenge times perfectly with harvesting the state’s peanut crop.

Florida produces the third largest number of peanuts in the country.

The annual jar collection, now in its 10th year, is led by UF/IFAS Extension and Florida A&M Cooperative Extension.

Throughout the month of October, people can drop peanut butter off at their local extension office. From there, it’s delivered directly to nearby food pantries.

In 2021 the peanut butter challenge collected 22 tons of peanut butter. That’s enough for 700,000 peanut butter sandwiches.

Some people wonder, why peanut butter? The answer is simple: peanut butter is nutrient dense and has a long shelf-life. It’s also grown throughout the state, particularly in northern areas.

UF/IFAS experts say the challenge also helps people struggling with food insecurity as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.

And UF/IFAS Extension Agent of Bradford County, Lizzie Whitehead, tell us “The peanut butter challenge has become an impactful project to mitigate food insecurity statewide. The latest numbers from the USDA show food insecurity affected roughly one in 10 Floridians in 2020.”

In addition to community donations, the Florida peanut producers’ association and florida peanut federation partner with the project, contributing to peanut butter collected for pantries in northeast and northwest Florida.

One peanut is small, but millions together help Floridians fight hunger.

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