BEYOND THE CHECK: 5,400 pounds of butternut squash provides a lot of nutrient dense, versatile food for families in need as well as a great workout for those gathering it. And a workout is just what 11 members of Impact100 SJ got when they gleaned at Grasso Girls Farm in Mullica Hill with Farmers Against Hunger! (See photos below.)
Farmers Against Hunger, one of our 2021 grantees, executes excellent programs and solutions to food waste in the State of New Jersey and creates a pathway for redistributing nutritious produce to food banks and soup kitchens around the state. Eighty billion pounds of food is wasted annually in the U.S. with 16% of the waste occurring on farms where surplus crops can lay rotting in fields.
By working with volunteers for gleaning, collecting unharvested food from already harvested crops, the organization is helping reduce the levels of food waste while providing much needed fresh food to food-insecure families! The $50,000 grant they received this year will support this program. Additionally, members of Impact100 SJ had the chance to get their hands dirty with Farmers Against Hunger by volunteering to glean.
Our first experience as a group was eye opening for all of the members. What they learned and the appreciation it inspired for the farm workers who supply our state and country with the bounty of food we enjoy was enlightening.
Here’s what some of the “gleaners” had to say:
“Having never participated in gleaning a crop, this Impact100 SJ experience was a memorable morning for me! Gathering the remnants of the Grasso Girls Farm butternut squash field on a beautiful fall morning with other members was such a “feel good” experience (as well as great exercise)! The morning expanded my appreciation for the enormous range of knowledge, skills and experience required in operating a profitable local farm!
Farmers Against Hunger is a remarkable organization that is helping local farmers donate nutritious produce to those in our community who are food insecure. The staff shared that the amount of food wasted annually in the US would provide 4 meals a day to every food insecure person in this country! Great to see first hand that Impact100 SJ grants are really making an impact!” ~Mary Lynne Reynolds
“Gleaning was such a wonderful experience. I could not believe that we gleaned 5400 pounds of butternut squash. We learned how Farmers Against Hunger is a middle man between farmers and ShopRite and various food banks. I’m amazed how many pounds of vegetables we gleaned and barely made a dent in the unharvested fields.” ~Abby Cohler
“One of the more humbling things I have done, gleaned over 5,000 lbs of butternut squash in less than 2 hours! I REALLY appreciate farm workers more than ever. And I’m proud to be a small part of a big solution as a member of Impact100 SJ and now as a volunteer with Farmers Against Hunger!” ~Valerie Buickerood