A message from Lindsay Perry, IFFS Local Produce Coordinator, on marking and celebrating one year of successful Field Gleaning and sharing abundance with those in need:
It has now been a full year since we were first invited to Everlaughter Farm in Hillsborough to glean a variety of salad greens from several overgrown rows. With five people we gleaned 120 pounds of salad greens, taking care to shade the bags from the sun. Rebecca Page, Triangle Gleaning Coordinator at the Society of Saint Andrew showed up in her trademark green corduroy overalls to help glean and meet me, and so began a relationship that led to a most fruitful partnership.
This year we’ve built relationships with farmers supportive of our mission—wonderful, generous people, willing to put in a little extra effort to make sure their excess crops go to good use, and in some cases, allowing us to harvest crops that could still be sold. Burch Brothers Farms, Howell Farming Company, and Vollmer Farms have been particularly generous, donating over and over.
We’ve gathered volunteers who are drawn to this project, and whose dedication amazes me! Like Meredith Bradshaw, who will offer to glean in the morning before she runs a 5K, and pick up sweet potato donations in Goldsboro between classes at NCSU. And Sandie, Samantha, Diane, Ron, Jack, Dianne, Tom, Edna, Triangle Catering Company, and so many others, who have all together given 1,354 volunteer hours!
We’ve found creative and fluid ways to collaborate with the Society of Saint Andrew, sharing resources and considering each organization’s needs. They could have seen our entry into field gleaning as competition, but instead we have chosen to find the ways we can support each other and create a better system for salvaging wasted and wholesome foods for the hungry in our community. They have affirmed my belief in collaboration as the best way, the way of Abundance.
Through the contributions of everyone, so far we have gleaned 89,000 pounds of fresh produce from the field, and picked up another 150,000 pounds of produce direct from farms—114,000 of these pounds came through some form of collaboration with the Society of Saint Andrew.
On this anniversary, we give thanks to Rebecca and the Society of Saint Andrew for their partnership, all of the generous farmers who have donated to IFFS and those in need, and all of our treasured volunteers who have given of their time and sweat!
Year Two finds us focused on strengthening our connections to partners and farmers; continually seeking volunteer groups excited about this work; and working to develop a core of Field Supervisors, or gleaners who are trained to supervise volunteer groups, as well as truck drivers to help pick up farm donations.
The season is unfolding rich in abundance! If this project speaks to you, please get involved! Help us to harness this abundance for people in real need! Sign up to glean here. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to help with the above mentioned needs.