The Clallam County Gleaning Program has partnered with one local farmer’s market to recover market produce and baked goods. This partnership set seed when a volunteer gleaner and avid farmer’s market shopper brought it to the attention of the gleaning coordinator. From there the gleaning coordinator talked with the farmer’s market general manager. Fortunately, the general manager was interested in the idea and had brought extra market goods to a local food agency in the past. Finally, the general manager talked with market vendors to encourage them to donate unsold items to the local food bank. Having the market manager on board and with previous food recovery experience was of great benefit.
While the manager talked with market vendors, the gleaning coordinator addressed the question of who was to participate in the farmer’s market gleaning through the weekly newsletter. Once the topic was introduced several gleaners responded with interest. A separate email list was created for all those interested. The group discussed the logistics of when to pick up, where one can drop off on Saturdays, and a system of alternates in case of absences. The market glean was then managed by a leader who was picked because they had the most availability. They were then responsible for notifying the group of when they would be absent and to report the poundage recovered to the gleaning coordinator.
A very simple system modeled after the previous food recovery efforts of the general manager was instituted. A large plastic tub was brought to the market by the working gleaner and was brought to the manager’s booth at the end of the market day. The manager gives reminders to the market vendors that they can donate unsold goods to the local food bank. The gleaner waits for vendors to respond and then brings the recovered goods to the food bank. It’s pretty simple.