Nature preserve honors Rural Ministry worker

BROCTON – Many may not know what gleaning is but it is important to the environment, if you ask Hannah Farley.

Farley, a recent SUNY Fredonia graduate in environmental science, is the Gleaning Project Coordinator for Chautauqua County Rural Ministry. The Greystone Nature Preserve located in Bear Lake honored Farley for her accomplishments and dedication to helping the environment.

Gleaning is the process of collecting leftover crops from gardens and farms. These leftovers are often discarded and can be harmful to the environment. Farley visits with farmers and community gardeners with volunteers and takes whatever crops are left over. Farley also uses compost from area restaurants and uses them in community gardens around the area.

“We work to decrease waste during production, consumption and disposal,” Farley said.

The food collected is distributed to those in need to ensure they have access to fresh, local and healthy food. Farley said there is a poverty rate of 38 percent in the city of Dunkirk. In addition to work with the gleaning project, Farley teaches students about gardening and the importance of growing your own food. To teach students about planting, Farley tells them to grab a bulb, dig like a dog, place the bulb or seeds in the hole and to cover it up.

“(Students) love it when you say dig like a dog,” Farley said jokingly.

Greystone Nature Preserve Diane Clark said they have worked with the Gleaning Project in the past and Clark wanted to honor Farley for her work and dedication. Farley was honored at the nature preserve by family and friends. Each person in attendance gave words of wisdom to Farley and encouraged her to be passionate, optimistic, patient, among others in taking on her new role. Farley thanked all those who came to support her, including her parents who traveled from Rochester.

“Just by being here, you have shown compassion,” she said.

For more information on the CCRM Gleaning Project, visit glean.theccrm.org. For more information on the Greystone Nature Preserve, visit www.greystonenaturepreserve.com.

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