Gleaning is one initiative that works to support community food security by increasing local 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 from individual homeowners who have excess in the gardens or on fruit trees. The Chatham-Kent Food Policy Council determined that food access is a priority area and have developed a gleaning project for Chatham-Kent. Thus, to reduce the amount of edible food that is wasted in the food system the CK Gleaning program links food producers and community agencies to divert food that would otherwise be left in the field, to people and organizations who can use it.
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. During the summer of 2015, we conducted a pilot project and this was expanded into a full program during the 2016 harvest season. We continue to work closely with local producers and have been successful at bringing leftover produce to local service agencies in the community such as local food banks, soup kitchens, cooking programs, youth program, and other agencies that support individuals in our communities. We would like to continue 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.
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. Please contact Lynnly Hoskins for more information.
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.