The Farmlink Project Makes Leftovers Cool With Mindful Merch & Trendy Partnerships

  • May 14, 2024

 

The Farmlink Project, an organization that combats food insecurity by transporting produce surpluses to food banks, can be found embroidered on tote bags, trucker hats and oversized hoodies frequently found on social media and beloved by sustainably savvy youth. See its recent Vogue write-up as evidence.

“We want Farmlink to feel relevant and feel like it matters to our contemporaries,” said co-CEO Ben Collier, who joined Farmlink’s founding team as a senior at Brown University. “You don’t do that by getting in a nonprofit magazine, you do that by getting in front of people the way that they consume, which is through social media.”

The Farmlink Project began during the pandemic in April 2020 as a passion project for two college students. Looking for a way to help a struggling local food bank, West Los Angeles-based friends James Kanoff and Aidan Reilly rented a U-Haul to transport farmers’ surpluses, starting with 11,000 eggs and 6 million pounds of onions.

Four years later, Farmlink has maintained its youthful roots. More than 100 college students nationwide volunteer for the nonprofit, alongside 21 full-time employees. Despite this dedicated base, the food insecurity-focused organization hopes its existence will become unnecessary.

“If there was no food waste, if there were no hungry people lining up outside understocked and underfunded food banks, there would be no need for The Farmlink Project,” the nonprofit’s website reads. “We need you to help us put ourselves out of business.”

To reach its goal of eliminating the nation’s annual “meal gap” of 6.2 billion meals, Farmlink has amplified its purpose with mission-focused promo. On its website, the nonprofit sells “Blackberry,” “Kale Green” and “Egg White” classic tees emblazoned with “FOOD SEARCH & RESCUE” and a truck. In December, Farmlink’s “Farm (to Foodbank) To Table” tote was snapped alongside Kris Jenner as she left an L.A. restaurant.

Farmlink t-shirt

The Farmlink Project recently partnered with Carhartt to release limited-edition tees made of Climate Beneficial cotton.

Partnering with a legacy brand newly beloved by young trendsetters, Farmlink released a line of limited-edition Climate Beneficial cotton T-shirts with Carhartt in April. The ecru-colored shirts, made in the USA from cotton sourced from farmers in the California Cotton and Climate Coalition, feature small Farmlink branding on the left chest alongside “Thank a Farmer” and a co-branded logo across the back. For each purchase, Carhartt will donate a shirt to farming communities, according to its website.

“Launching this collaborative shirt with Carhartt is a dream come true for us, aligning ourselves with such an incredible brand while expressing gratitude to our hardworking farmers,” said Kate Nelson, chief marketing officer at The Farmlink Project.

Farmlink has also partnered with the band U2, where fans could win tickets to a show at the Sphere in Las Vegas after donating to the nonprofit, and high-end grocery chain Erewhon, which allowed customers to round up their totals to benefit the nonprofit.

Chipotle has worked with Farmlink multiple times, including a round-up initiative and food waste donations. After meeting its donation goal of 20 million pounds of food, Chipotle released the recipe for fan-favorite honey vinaigrette dressing to widespread media coverage.

The high-profile partnerships and well-placed branded merch have proven successful for the nonprofit. Since April 2024, Farmlink has redirected over 220 million pounds of produce to food banks, enabled over 183 million meals, donated over $5.4 million to farmers and truckers and prevented 268,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.


  • Category: Sustainability
  • Tags: Charity, doing good, promotional suppliers