Gleaning provides an avenue for post-harvest produce and a possible solution to first frost loss.

17 Oct 2019, by Admin in Harvest Blog, Harvest VISTA, Gleaning, National VISTA, Community Food Share

Harvest Against Hunger VISTA Malik Salsberry serves at Community Food Share, a nonprofit located in Louisville, CO. This nonprofit is one of the five Feeding America food banks that help to serve all of Colorado and Wyoming, with Community Food Share’s focus being Boulder and Broomfield counties. This nonprofit makes its distinction from other food banks in the area by having a major focus on fresh produce and protein, with goals of 75% being fresh produce, fruits and vegetables, and protein sources, like fresh milk, eggs, beans, and meat. Community Food Share supports other area food pantries as well as their own programs which serve different populations like children and the elderly.

As Colorado experienced its first hard frost of the year last week, October 10th , farmers and gardeners were busy in the fields harvesting the rest of their produce that they had left in the ground. Harvest VISTA Malik Salsberry received information from a local farm, Munson Farms, that needed an emergency pick-up for an entire field of winter squash before the snow and frost had hit. Munson didn’t have the capacity to get that filed along with the other pumpkins, gourds and winter squash that they had to save in other fields and on different properties that the butternut squash would have sat out during the snow and gone to waste. VISTA Salsberry worked with Garden Leader Pete Terpenning in coordinating a last minute group for this harvest of butternut squash with a corporate group, IHS Markit. This corporate group made a last minute switch from being in the warehouse to meeting us out on the farm in order to help accommodate this last minute request.

Harvest VISTA Salsberry, along with Garden Leader Pete and the 13 team members from the IHS Markit team, carpooled to an auxiliary field in Boulder, CO out on one of Munson’s properties, where there were tons of winter squash ready to be harvested and distributed. The Harvest VISTA and his volunteers collected a total of 4,880 pounds of fresh butternut squash, which beat the 2,000 pound goal that was set at the start of the shift.

Many are familiar with the statistic that 40% of food is wasted in the United States, however as much as 30% of the food that is grown on farms never leave the field according to a study done by the NRDC. Pairing this knowledge with the food waste statistic paints a grim picture for how food is wasted at different parts of its distribution. Gleaning has become an avenue for not only rescuing food during harsh weather conditions but also making sure that that food goes to individuals and families in need.

The goal of the Garden Share Program is to help end food insecurity in Boulder and Broomfield counties by providing our participants with high-quality, locally grown produce grown by local gardeners and farmers.