The first attempt to recover produce from the Thursday night Chelan Farmers’ Market yielded mixed results. The Farmers Market Manager was enthusiastic about gleaning produce, and also allowed the use of the Farmers Market information table for Community Harvest materials. A donation box was set up and information was handed out. Many of the farmers were on board and willing to donate excess produce, but the program will need to make some improvements going forward.
Problems Identified in 2012
1. Unless the Gleaning Coordinator was at the market, there was not a consistent volunteer trained to talk about Community Harvest.
- The towns in North Central Washington are small, having local buy-in is essential.
2. The time between the market and the food distribution day presents challenges:
- Produce was not stored properly and did not keep well
- The produce needs to get from the market to a cold storage facility and be stored properly
3. The local community needs to be consistently and creatively engaged.
1. The market volunteer needs to be knowledgeable and personable in order to create dialogue and remind people to buy extra produce to donate.
- The market donation volunteers will likely be folks associated with the Chelan Food Bank who would like to get involved with the gleaning project.
2. A local farm has volunteered storage space in their (large) cooler.
- Produce will be taken care of and stored properly
- The Farmers Market Manager has agreed to be responsible for transporting produce from the market to the farm on Thursday evenings.
3. Challenging the community of Chelan to donate XXX lbs of food throughout the growing season.
- Giving monthly updates on the amount of produce gleaned
- Recognizing local growers who donate
- Use local media (radio, newspaper)
- Have a visual demonstration of the progress towards the goal. Like a plate that gets filled up as you get closer to 100%!
Once this system is set up, the Gleaning Coordinator will not have to travel to Chelan on a weekly basis, helping to create a more localized, sustainable system for gleaning.