BRATTLEBORO — The Vermont Foodbank has begun its gleaning program for the growing season.
Gleaning is the act of harvesting from farm fields excess vegetables that may otherwise go to waste. Often, the produce is top quality. Other times, it might be irregularly shaped or have small blemishes.
The Foodbank operates the state's largest gleaning program, working with more than 600 volunteers to harvest and gather produce. Their efforts enable the Foodbank to provide healthy, local food to Vermonters who are at risk of hunger.
Each year, the Foodbank distributes around 465,000 pounds of fresh, local produce through food shelves, meal sites, senior centers, housing sites, schools, and hospitals throughout the state.
Zach Hebert, the Foodbank's gleaning and community outreach coordinator for southern Vermont, said in a news release that gleaning is once again open to all ages after being restricted last summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said that organizers are “closely following all guidance from the CDC and the state of Vermont. Anyone with family members under 18 who might want to join in on a glean are more than welcome to reach out to me directly with any questions or concerns you might have about our most current protocols.”
Volunteers are always needed, he said, with some people making it a routine to glean every week, while others lend a hand once or twice a season.
To learn more, contact Hebert at [email protected] or 802-989-8739.