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Linking Farms and Food Banks


Cameron Digiovanni ’20 has two internships this summer — one that will prepare him for his anticipated enrollment in law school, and one that is helping him provide immediate, tangible benefits to Americans affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

For the latter, Digiovanni is interning remotely with FarmLink, a grassroots nonprofit organization that connects farms with surplus food to food banks that need it, while supporting essential jobs in farming and trucking. 

“I’m the lead on transportation partnerships and protocols, so I’ve been cultivating relationships with many different shipping companies so that we can ship surplus food from farms to food banks in areas that are food insecure,” Digiovanni said.

FarmLink was started in March by a group of college students who wanted to do something productive and helpful after the pandemic shut down most college campuses and sent students home. Digiovanni learned about the non-profit organization through his brother and joined the group, which at the time had around 50 college students. 

Cameron Digiovanni ’20

Major: Literature

Hometown: Milton, Mass.

High school: Milton Academy

 

REad about other members of the class of 2020 

“This group was essentially formed completely by word-of-mouth because at the time we still had only shipped a few hundred thousand pounds of food,” Digiovanni said. “We now have 190 team members and have shipped over 6 million pounds.” The organization that didn’t even exist five months ago has now been featured by the ABC Nightly News, The New York Times, The Today Show, and The Washington Post, to name a few.

“Our goals are two-fold –– tackle food insecurity and ensure that we keep people (farmers and truckers) employed,” Digiovanni explained.   

FarmLink is completely volunteer-run, with all money from fundraising going to paying for transportation and buying the surplus from farmers.

“I chose shipping/transportation because I was really interested in the legal side of things,” Digiovanni said. “I'm currently applying to law schools for next year, so I wanted to work on the food protocols and safety aspect of the organization.”

As for his second internship, Digiovanni is working with Partners Healthcare Innovation, a branch of Mass General Hospital, where he’s learning about intellectual property law and assisting the finance and transactional affairs groups. He said this internship is more finance/law related and “has been an awesome first bit of exposure to the field of intellectual property law.”

A Phi Beta Kappa graduate who majored in literature, Digiovanni said he was fortunate to get financial support from Hamilton after the College extended its summer internship funding to graduating seniors who were facing a tough job market during the pandemic.

Digiovanni said he will ultimately need to shift to a paid job but hopes to continue volunteering part-time for FarmLink. “I’m continually amazed at how much of a difference we have made even though we’re all working remotely. But as we always say, this is only the beginning.”

 

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