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Hero FARM FORTE Responsible for feeding Floridians millions of pounds of farm-fresh produce, Patricia Robbins Alger and the good people at Farm Share are putting South Florida philanthropy on the map. TEXT BY RYAN JARRELL I t was a chance encounter that ended up nurturing millions. Gainfully retired from a full life of domestic bliss, banking and seafood shipping, Patricia Robbins Alger was in need of a valued vocation. Employed since the age of 15, traveller of the world and lover of her home state of Florida, Robbins knew that the reticent life was not for her. Heading south, she found herself caught behind a dump truck teeming with farm-fresh vegetation. Pulling into the market, she inquired as to its ultimate destination. Apparently, it was, for whatever reason, bound for the dump. Crestfallen, certain that that simply would not do, Alger began formulating a plan. And the rest, as they say, is history. Today, she is the Founder, President & CEO of Farm Share, an organization responsible for providing a staggering 51,893,761 lbs. of food to Florida residents last year alone. Alger’s story as a compassionate advocate for the hungry began in the most unlikely of places: the humble family farm of her grandmother, Florence Pitts. “From the age of 11, it was just my grandmother 66 and I, and she was older and not in the best of health but she was able to keep everything going for us,” says Robbins. “We had a milk cow, cattle, pigs, chickens...all the things a family farm would have. She was so generous and so well-respected, even though we didn’t have much. She was my hero.” Boldly embodying the persistent spirit of this matriarch, Robbins has spent her life plumbing the limits of what society believes a woman can (or should) do. And whether it’s piloting cargo planes full of seafood from the Caribbean (an occupational pursuit she put to rest after she barely walked away from a dicey in-air situation) or providing nutritionally dense and nutritious foods to our most vulnerable and malnourished populations, Robbins has one no-nonsense solution to righting the wrongs of our society: Simply don’t take no for an answer. “We started with just a notepad and a pen,” says Alger, whose first calls to local farmers netted 16,000 pounds worth of food. “If we had all the money we needed, there’s no telling how many people we could help!”; FarmShare.org.