This spring a new organization, Community Harvest of Central Vermont (CHCV), has been formed in our area to use surplus farm produce to enhance the health and wellbeing of the Central Vermont community.
CHCV will work with local farmers and volunteer gleaners to keep surplus from going to waste and make fresh local food available to everyone in our community. The organization also aims to foster appreciation and awareness of local food, and to promote community connections and involvement with farms.
“Gleaning is the practice of walking farmers’ fields and gathering usable food after the farmer has finished their regular harvest,” said Allison Levin, CHCV founder and program coordinator. “It goes back to biblical times, at least. Gleaning brings the community together to make the most of what we are growing, right here in our own backyard.”
The organization will rely on volunteers to gather, process, and transport the food gathered. Recipients will include local food shelves, senior centers, and schools.
“More than 85% of the available surplus farm crops in Vermont are going unused each year Đ that’s close to 2 million pounds,” Levin said. For the 2014 growing season the organization will work with George Gross at Dog River Farm in Berlin, who has been eager to partner with CHCV as it develops harvesting and distribution systems that can be replicated at other farms. CHCV hopes to expand gleaning efforts to as many as a half dozen farms in the 2015 growing season.
CHCV is working in close collaboration with Salvation Farms to set up their gleaning initiative, and with Central Vermont social service organizations and schools to make fresh local produce available to everyone in our community. CHCV has already forged working relationships with Just Basics Inc. and their Montpelier Food Pantry, as well as the Montpelier Senior Activity Center meals program. A full list of partners can be found at www.CommunityHarvestVT.org.
“We’re excited to have CHCV as part of the state’s growing network of gleaning organizations,” said Theresa Snow, Executive Director of Salvation Farms. “There is so much work to be done all around Vermont. Community Harvest will fill a much-needed role in Central Vermont’s local food system and social services network,” she said. CHCV is a member of the Vermont Gleaning Collective, an initiative of Salvation Farms (www.salvationfarms.org).
Anyone interested in volunteering for the coming growing season or contributing to CHCV’s efforts should contact Allison Levin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-229-4281 or for more info visit www.CommunityHarvestVT.org.