Transition Sarasota Gleaning Project

Garden gleaning is a great way to rescue food that would otherwise go to waste, not to mention get out in the fresh air and sunshine. Transition Sarasota has a great farm-based Suncoast Gleaning Pilot Project going that is having huge success. "We are quite proud of it and think it could be easily replicated by other Transition Initiatives. It is a win-win-win-win for farmers, food banks, the food insecure, and volunteers. It is manageable for initiatives who are still in the early stages of Transition, has an impact that is easily measured, and generates publicity that is universally positive." - wrote Don Hall, Project Coordinator

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Since 1980, food banks throughout the United States have been participating in the time-honored tradition of gleaning: rescuing food from local farms that would otherwise go to waste in the fields. One excellent example of this is the Arizona Statewide Gleaning Project, which was established in 1993 when local food banks joined forces to create a coordinated effort throughout the state. To date, this Statewide Project has now rescued, transported, and distributed more than 767 million pounds of food.

The Suncoast Gleaning Project has been running since October 25th of this year, has harvested a total 6,138 pounds so far with the goal of 30,000 pounds by May 2011. [way to go!]

As a result of our struggling economy, many more people have become “food insecure” in recent years and are seeking assistance from food banks and the organizations they support. In order to meet this growing demand, food banks with tight budgets have increasingly come to rely on the cheapest food they can find, which often doesn't include healthy, fresh, local produce. We believe that everyone deserves good food and that a small group of volunteers really can make a difference. Therefore, the goals of the Suncoast Gleaning Project are:

1. To provide healthy, fresh, local produce to those most in need;

2. To harvest produce from area farms that would otherwise be wasted;

3. To educate youth and other community members about hunger, food security, and agriculture; and

4. To help local farmers survive and thrive through tax-deductions they will receive for the full value of the produce they donate.

PROJECT PARTNERS

The Rotary Club of Sarasota is a non-religious, non-governmental service organization of business and professional leaders.

All Faiths Food Bank solicits, warehouses, processes, and distributes food to not-for-profit agency partners offering hunger relief in Sarasota and DeSoto counties.

The Peace Education and Action Center nurtures an ever-growing circle of peacemakers to end violence and build a culture of peace in Sarasota and beyond.

Transition Sarasota acts as a catalyst for rebuilding local community resilience and self-reliance in the face of peak oil, climate change, and economic crisis.

2010 - 2011 PILOT

The Suncoast Gleaning Project will run a pilot from the beginning of October 2010 through the end of May 2011. Produce will be harvested from local farms by teams of volunteers under the supervision of a Project Coordinator. Nearly all food gleaned will be donated to All Faiths Food Bank for distribution through their network of nonprofit partners. Volunteers will be allowed to take home one shopping bag of produce in appreciation for their time. Participating farms will receive a receipt for tax-deduction for the full value of their donation. If this project proves successful in achieving its goals, we intend that it will continue and expand with time.

gardening

From left, Dusty James, Peggy Cockerill and Lisa Kramer glean romaine lettuce from Jessica's Organic Farm. Photo by Chris Hawes, for the article "Gleaning project puts fresh produce on table" in the Herald-Tribune, October 27, 2010.

Our goal for this pilot is to harvest an average of 1,000 pounds of produce a week over 30 weeks for a total of 30,000 pounds. At an average market value of $2.50 per pound, the total value of this produce is equivalent to $75,000. A similar program in Boulder County, Colorado has gleaned 50,000 pounds of produce annually for their local food bank, with the majority of that produce coming from a single farm.

Desoto Lakes Organic Farm in Sarasota and King Farm Myakka in Bradenton have already agreed to participate this year. Additional farms will be added as capacity is developed to manage them. Farming, of course, is highly variable occupation. However, crops that are likely to be harvested include lettuce, kale, collards, beets, turnips, a variety of herbs, blueberries, strawberries, tomatoes, potatoes, beans, peppers, and cucumbers. An abundance of tree fruit, such as peaches, nectarines, and plums will be available in the summer.

Info above originally posted here.

For more info about the Suncoast Gleaning Project, visit http://transitionsarasota.org/group/thegleaners

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Update:

We are currently harvesting almost every Monday morning, from 9 - 11 a.m. at Jessica's Organic Farm in Sarasota. Please join as a member to receive updates. If you have questions, please email Project Coordinator Don Hall at Don@TransitionSarasota.org or call 941-408-3374. Thank you for your interest!!!

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