Paul Franceschi is a recent graduate from Wesleyan University who has worked on farms and field crews across New England for much of his adult life. His time spent in the field, and particularly his experience as a managing member of his college farm, taught him much about the value of small-scale agriculture as a critical community resource. After completing his degree in Environmental Studies, Paul moved back to his home in Eastern Massachusetts to begin service as an AmeriCorps VISTA at Boston Area Gleaners.
Boston Area Gleaners is a food recovery organization located in Waltham, Massachusetts. BAG partners with farmers across the state and mobilizes teams of volunteers to harvest hundreds of thousands of pounds of surplus crops each year that would otherwise be plowed under. The gleaned produce is distributed through over 2,000 hunger relief agencies in New England, including food banks, pantries, and free meal programs. BAG’s work has started early this year in response to the COVID-19 crisis and a 400% increase in food insecurity in the Massachusetts since March—in addition to field gleans, BAG is contracting with the USDA through their Farmers to Families Food Box program in order to purchase produce direct from area farms and rapidly distribute it to relief groups. Paul looks forward to assisting BAG with volunteer and donor management systems as well as outreach and development, helping to ensure that the gleaning program continues to thrive despite our unprecedented situation.