Food banks around the country are working to incorporate more fresh fruits and vegetables into the hands of Americans, and those efforts are happening in the Valley at the Second Harvest Food Bank.

"They are expensive number one, and they're good for you, so we want to make sure they're available to more people," Second Harvest Executive Director Mike Iberis said. 

Iberis said it's a work in progress, but last season 30% of the 15-million pounds of food distributed was fruits and vegetables and the food bank is continuing to source more surplus of produce from the Ohio foodbank network and farmers. 

"We've also been lobbying and working with USDA in the same way," he said, "So we're able to get USDA to produce as well as Ohio produce into the food banks which ultimately gets in the hands of people who are in need."

Dr. Kathleen Padgitt, of the Kidney Group, said it's a smart move on the food banks part, adding plant-based food is medicine for the body.

"I think the food bank to do that is a great thing because the people that they help are people who have deficiencies sometimes in other areas of their lives that provide good health," Padgitt said, "So being able to provide fruits and vegetables to help reduce disease that way is a big bonus to people."

She said not only do plant-based foods provide all the macro-nutrients people need to sustain good health: proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, but they provide more micro-nutrients than any other food.

"They provide minerals, vitamins... they provide fibers. They provide antioxidants and anti-inflammatory components that all help to stop inflammation in the body," she said, "They reduce the risk of diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, help to mitigate auto-immune disease and they help to fight infection."