Merrymeeting Gleaners announced the have collected more than 100,000 pounds of donations since their inception in 2016. 

The gleaners project was started by the Merrymeeting Food Council’s Food Security Working Group. The gleaners partner with nonprofits to deliver fresh surplus produce to locations from Freeport to Wiscasset, and from Richmond to Georgetown. 

“Food from over two dozen farms, delivered to 30 different organizations, has been harvested by almost 80 volunteers this year,” said Coordinator Kelly Davis in a news release.  “That’s a lot of coordination, but the Gleaners have always been a can-do group, and we all work together well since we’re passionate about what we’re doing.”“We now glean year-round. In high summer season, we’re working six days a week,” Davis added.
Gleaners have been experimenting with other ways to get local food to people who might otherwise not be able to obtain it. Surplus apples and pears have been processed into shelf-stable sauce, thanks to grant support from the Baldwin Foundation. A series of “Sharing Tables” are now open weekly in Bath, Bowdoin, Topsham, Brunswick, and Harpswell, with another coming soon in Arrowsic 

With help from SNAP-Ed and the Maine Cooperative Extension, the Gleaners have compiled a “Know Your Veggies” book.  

“We sometimes heard that people wanted to try some of the produce we provided, but didn’t know how to store or cook it,” said Davis. “Now we can give them basic nutritional information, storage suggestions, and recipes. We’re looking forward to making the book widely available.”

“So many barriers prevent people from having access to the great local food that our hardworking farmers produce – transportation, time, money – it’s sometimes hard to know where to begin,” said volunteer Michelle Rines. “It’s a great feeling to connect with all the generous people in our region who want to help each other and are making a real difference.”
For more information, contact coordinator Kelly Davis at [email protected]. 

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