Glean­ing ef­forts con­tinue to strengthen Md. Food Bank

Record Observer - - News - By DOUG BISHOP dbishop@kibay­times.com

CEN­TRE­VILLE — Glean­ing is a his­tor­i­cal and bib­li­cal prac­tice in which farm­ers al­low the gathering crops that would other­wise be left in the fields to rot, or be plowed un­der after har­vest, to be used to feed those who other­wise may not have food. The glean­ing process be­gan as part of the Mary­land Food Bank pro­gram in 2010.

Farm­ers across Mary­land were asked orig­i­nally to do­nate ex­cess pro­duce after their fields were es­sen­tially har­vested for mar­ket.

The pro­gram be­gan with only two farms, and now has grown, much through the pas­sion­ate ef­forts of Mary­land Food Bank Co­or­di­na­tor Amy Caw­ley, to 68 farms across Mary­land, with the great­est con­cen­tra­tion of farm par­tic­i­pa­tion on the Eastern Shore. Craw­ley was hired to get the pro­gram started on the Eastern Shore in 2011.

The pro­duce gleaned has in­cluded straw­ber­ries, squash, pick­ling cu­cum­bers, sweet corn, can­taloupe, toma­toes, egg­plant, green pep­pers, wa­ter­melon, kale, col­lards, but­ter­nut squash, turnips, broc­coli, pota­toes, green beans, sweet pota­toes and cau­li­flower. Some­times, peaches, plums and ap­ples have been in­cluded.

Glean­ing be­gins in May with straw­ber­ries and con­cludes in Oc­to­ber with pump­kins. The busiest months are July and Au­gust.

Since July 1, 2016, some 224,640 pounds of pro­duce has been do­nated from Eastern Shore farm­ers to Mary­land Food Bank.

Caw­ley said, “I don’t have an age re­stric­tion on vol­un­teers, but ask that any­one un­der 16 be ac­com­pa­nied by adult su­per­vi­sion. Only other re­quire­ment is to be phys­i­cally ca­pa­ble.”

Glean­ing times vary as to when crops/pro­duce are sea­son­ally ready to har­vest. It’s done be­gin­ning at 8 a.m. to noon, or 6 p.m. un­til dark or the job gets done. The glean­ing days are week­days, not week­ends. Vol­un­teers can come and go as their sched­ule al­lows, but a min­i­mum of one hour is ap­pre­ci­ated.

The project is pop­u­lar with lo­cal youth groups, clubs, churches and Scouts. Glean­ing qual­i­fies as com­mu­nity ser­vice to­ward meet­ing the re­quire­ments for grad­u­a­tion at lo­cal high schools; see a guid­ance coun­selor for ap­pro­pri­ate forms.

For more in­for­ma­tion, con­tact Caw­ley at acaw­ley@md­food­bank.org.

PHO­TOS BY DOUG BISHOP

Mary­land Food Bank Co­or­di­na­tor Amy Caw­ley, right, speaks with vol­un­teers at Ma­son Farms in Ruths­burg, Thurs­day evening, Aug. 18, prior to glean­ing sweet corn there. Nearly 20 vol­un­teers turned out to help gather the left­over corn.

PHO­TOS BY DOUG BISHOP

Thomas Moulden, 14, of Stevensville, car­ries a har­vest bas­ket Thurs­day evening, Aug. 18, while glean­ing sweet corn for the Mary­land Food Bank. Thomas was among nearly 20 vol­un­teers who turned out that evening to help gather fresh pro­duce to help feed needy folks in this part of Mary­land.

Pam Ren­frow and her hus­band, Jim, of Cen­tre­ville help har­vest sweet corn at Ma­son Farms.

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