This past week, the Merrymeeting Gleaners took part in the first annual Maine Gleaning Week. Gleaners from across the state rescued 18,000 lbs. of produce that otherwise would have remained in the fields. From corn to kale to potatoes, the gleaners collectively harvested 23 varieties of produce from 30 farms and gardens, enough for 75,000 servings of food shared among 35 recipient partners from Saturday, Oct. 7, to Monday, Oct. 16.
The Merrymeeting Gleaners collected 740 lbs. during their event, “Glean with a Friend”, at Six River Farm. Both veteran and new gleaners came together to harvest a mixture of spinach, bok choy, beets, peppers, broccoli, kale and radishes for distribution among partners such as Bath Housing, Bath Head Start, and the Bowdoinham Food Pantry. The event was a chance to expose new individuals to this work as well as collect produce before the first frost. The event also celebrated the completion of a cold storage trailer built for the Merrymeeting Gleaners with funding from Bowdoin College and The New England Grassroots Environmental Fund. The trailer will allow for proper storage of produce between gleaning and distribution.
Maine Gleaning Week ended with an event at the Portland Public Library celebrating World Food Day. Kristen Miale, President of the Good Shepard Food Bank, and Steven M. Finn of UPenn and LeanPath were both keynote speakers. Following that, audience members were able to share their experiences with gleaning and then there was a screening of “WASTED! The Story of Food Waste”. This event was hosted by Food Recovery Coalition, Portland Public Library, and Maine Gleaning Network, and sponsored by Healthy Communities of the Capital Area, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation, Healthy Acadia and The Quimby Family Foundation.
For more information or to get involved with the Merrymeeting Gleaners contact Merrymeetinggleaners@gmail.com.