The Daily Beast covered our Glean for the City program this week! Reporter Kathleen Maloney writes:
During warmer months, groups from Bread for the City's program called Glean for the City travel to Parker Farms with their volunteers to gather that discarded or overlooked produce, sometimes collecting up to 2,000 pounds in a single trip. Sharon Gruber, a nutrition consultant with Bread for the City, began Glean for the City when she was hired and realized that their clients needed not only food, but healthy food. "I quickly realized we couldn't buy all the produce I wanted us to buy."The whole piece is worth a read.
So she began cold-calling farms—150—to ask them what they did with their unwanted or unmarketable produce. That is how she found out about gleaning. Bread for the City now organizes trips to participating farms where produce like apples, sweet corn, squash, and broccoli are collected directly from the fields....
The organization receives about half its produce directly from the farm, Gruber said, and half from farmers' markets in the area that participate in gleaning by donating food left over at the close of the markets. Many of the Washington, D.C.-area farmers' markets that participate in gleaning are the FreshFarm Markets, one of which is just a block from the White House and was visited on its opening day last year by Michelle Obama, champion of the national Let's Move! campaign. The government's community service website, serve.gov, also features a USDA "Let's Glean!" tool kit, with information and facts about the process.
I do want to elaborate on a point made briefly in the article, which is that this year’s Glean for the City will make more of an effort to involved clients of Bread for the City. We had a pilot “client gleaning” last year that went so well that we hope to have several more this year.
We also are developing a greater educational component to Glean for the City. Each gleaning trip will include a comprehensive discussion on nutrition, hunger, and food waste -- so that people aren’t just working, but thinking!
Also, this year, our new gleaning coordinator (Tonya Hamilton-- you’ll meet her soon) will be placing a special emphasis on her outreach efforts toward schools. For any school-driven Glean for the City events, we will have materials to send to the teachers before and after the farm visits; we hope that this will help the message of sustainability and service carry beyond the actual trip itself.
There’s lots of opportunity to improve our food system -- reducing waste and addressing hunger -- and it will take both learning and work. Let’s get started!
Glean for the City will begin booking fall gleaning volunteer shifts on April 1st. Volunteering fills up fast - so start organizing your group now!