WESTERN WALDO COUNTY GLEANING INITIATIVE
Member of Maine Gleaning Network
Unity Barn Raisers (UBR), with support from EMHS’s Partners in Community Health Grant, teamed up with Veggies For All (VFA) to pilot a gleaning initiative in 2016. This concept had been discussed in prior years, but funding wasn’t available to dedicate staff resources to this highly needed and desired program in our community. UBR and VFA, with strong relationships with area hunger relief programs (Volunteer Regional Food Pantry, The Open Door soup kitchen), farmers, producers, and volunteers were well positioned to immediately make traction with this program.
In 2016, the Western Waldo County Gleaning Initiative redirected nearly 12,000 pounds of food to hunger relief programs and drop off sites (Unity Community Center, local health clinic, low income housing). In 2017, UBR secured two foundation grants to continue gleaning into 2018 with hopes of reaching 18,000lbs of recovered food. The gleaning program operates in three ways 1.) facilitate the drop off of already harvested products from farmers/producers, 2.) pick up already harvested products at a farm/location, or 3.) bring a group of volunteers to conduct in-field harvest.