Cull Recovery with SoSA Georgia
Special Note** culls that are not significantly damaged but not market quality can be safely recovered with small groups of volunteers properly trained in food safety. Not a family-friendly event but an efficient way to recover produce. This can be a messy and physical event, be prepared to handle bad produce. Gleaning Etiquette and Safety: Packing Houses can have several hazards for volunteers. Extra caution is necessary when in the fields to avoid danger and awareness is very important for all of the volunteers. Specific rules to follow when in a packing house include:
- Have a designated guide that works at the packing house that can show you where to go.
- No pets are allowed
- Volunteers must stay in the designated area assigned by the gleaning coordinator/guide
- Only go to the bathroom in the designated facilities. Hands must be washed prior to returning. Wastewater is to be collected.
- Leave no trace. All trash is to be collected.
- Verify any containers or transportation beds have been cleaned prior to produce contact
- Properly clean tools before and after gleaning, and collect wastewater if washing on the farm.
Materials Needed: These facilities are active areas of production. Ask a farmer or appointed guide to verify what to bring. Will you need to bring your own cartons, ladders, etc.? Confirm with the farmer what type of produce they have available and what type of materials you may need. You may need to do some research on your own. Keeping a portable bin with all materials needed for gleaning, as well as a first-aid kit and organization brochures and cards, will help to keep materials organized and portable. This should be stored in the truck at the field for easy access. See “Field Gleaning Checklist” for a comprehensive list.
Transportation: Their truck and/or trailer should be available to load culls from the packing house and a designated driver to maneuver it to the docking area.
Data Recording: It is essential for your group to record all pounds gleaned. Farmers will need to know what kind of produce was collected and how much for their tax purposes. Keep track of different produce separately. If you plan on donating to several agencies after a glean, accurately track how many pounds went to each agency.
Measuring produce can be done in three ways:
- Donate all gathered produce to a food bank. They typically have scales and give you an accurate weight upon receiving the donation.
- Bring a scale to the field. This can be a digital bathroom scale that shows pounds to the .1 pound. Have volunteers pick produce into the same type of bin, box, or bucket and keep track of how much is collected. Make an estimate of the weight: the number of bins/boxes/buckets collected X the weight of a full bins/boxes/buckets. You can always weigh each bin, box, or bucket individually and add it all up at the end of the event.
- Use a box that is appropriate for the type of produce you are collecting (See “Produce Conversions”) and estimate how many boxes would fit into the bed of a truck or a trailer. This can be done by simple math: how many boxes across (width) X how many boxes deep (length) X how many boxes high (height). Based on how full the bed or trailer is with produce, you can estimate the pounds.