A breath of fresh air, exercise, and a harvest for Vermonters in need: all results of a day in the fields gleaning with the Vermont Foodbank. Gleaning is the age old practice of salvaging what is left after the harvest, or in today’s terms harvesting produce that is otherwise unmarketable. The Vermont Foodbank Gleaning Program harvests excess produce from local farms with the help of many volunteers, making it available to our neighbors in need.
The Vermont Foodbank is the state’s largest hunger-relief organization, serving communities in all 14 counties of Vermont through a network of 280 food shelves, meal sites, shelters, senior centers and after-school programs. The Gleaning Program is one way the Foodbank captures and distributes nutritious foods that are locally produced. In 2011 the Vermont Foodbank Gleaning Program worked with more than 100 farms and hundreds of volunteers to provide nearly 400,000 pounds of fresh, local produce to Vermonters in need of food assistance.
Any gardener will tell you that getting produce from field to plate takes a lot of work. There are many ways that volunteers can participate in the Vermont Foodbank Gleaning Program. The most obvious is helping harvest (glean) on local farms. Other volunteer jobs include: delivering gleaned produce, collecting boxes, recruiting volunteers, and promoting the program through a variety of ways. Participating as a gleaning volunteer offers community members the chance to learn firsthand about local food production and food security in the state. Your contribution is crucial to our success.