The Chatham-Kent Food Policy Council has determined that food access is a priority area and have been working to develop a gleaning project for Chatham-Kent.
Gleaning is one initiative that aims to support food security by increasing food availability, food access, and food use. Gleaning is commonly understood as the act of collecting leftover crops from farmers’ fields after they have been commercially harvested, or collecting produce individual homeowners who have excess in the gardens or on fruit trees.
As a first step, in June 2014, a forum was held to bring together individuals who were interested in hearing what had been done in other communities. In February 2015, a literature review was conducted to determine best practices for a gleaning initiative here in Chatham-Kent. Following this report, we conducted a pilot project over the summer and fall and were successful at bringing leftover produce to local service agencies in the community. We are now ready to expand the program to include more local agencies and more local farmers, and would like to invite you to participate in the Chatham-Kent Gleaning Project.
Here is some information to help you become familiar with the project:
Equipping people to rescue surplus produce from fields and gardens.
Connecting food producers who have surplus produce with neighbours and community food programs through relationship building, experiential learning and volunteer engagement.
- Building Partnerships
- Our goal is to develop partnerships that connect local farmers and community food programs
- Facilitating Food Redistribution
- We harvest excess produce and share with local community food programs
- Local agencies receive gleaned produce free of charge for use in food banks, soup kitchens, and food skill programs.
- Helping Our Volunteers
- We aim to identify, recruit and provide comprehensive training and supports to individuals wishing to participate in experiential learning opportunities
- Those who help harvest the produce will also receive a portion of the food to take home and share with their families
- Developing Resources – creation of tools and resources to support the gleaning program.
- Evaluating– ongoing program evaluation and improvement for continued success.
We are recruiting local agencies to receive the excess produce.
Expectations for participating agencies:
- Participating agencies will provide us with their contact information, the type of storage facilities available, and their hours of operation.
- If produce is received outside of normal hours, agencies who wish to receive the produce will work with us to determine how we can access the centre for delivery.
- Participating agencies will provide us with volunteers to assist with the gleaning process, if they are able to do so. Volunteers will be required to complete detailed safety training through the health unit, and are covered by the municipality. For information on training dates, please contact Lyndsay Davidson
We are also recruiting local producers who would partner with us to glean their fields or pick up produce.
Expectations for participating producers:
- Participating producers will need to provide their contact information, the location of the fields to be gleaned, the types of crops that are available for gleaning/pick up, and how we can access them.
- Producers will be responsible to advise (by phone or email) as fields are ready to be gleaned. We will work with producers to arrange the date and time that works best for them to have the gleaners come to their fields.
- To keep volunteers safe, farmers must inform us of any special instructions/additional training required for the gleaning process. All volunteers will be required to participate in and receive Safety training through the health unit, and are covered by the municipality volunteer policy for insurance purposes.
For more information or if you are interested in being a part of this project either as a volunteer or as a potential location, please contact Lyndsay Davidson at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 519-352-7270 ext. 2478.