Chautauqua County Rural Ministry thanks farmers and gardeners

Now that the harvest season is winding down, it is the perfect time to thank the farmers and gardeners who donated over 11,300 lbs of their produce this year to the Gleaning Project of the Chautauqua County Rural Ministry to feed the hungry.

CCRM thanks Toboggan Hill Farms of Westfield, Anderson Farms of Sinclairville, Hamlet Farms of Sheridan, Stewart Ward of South Dayton, John the Grape Farmer of Westfield, Roberto Fred Farms of Fredonia, J and M Joy Farms of Fredonia, Gong Gardens of Fredonia, Lamberton Hollow Farms of Fredonia, Greystone Nature Preserve, Lembke Farms of Forestville and many more farmers and backyard gardeners who have made charitable donations to those facing food insecurity in Chautauqua County.

In early 1999, CCRM, in partnership with Cornell Cooperative Extension began the Gleaning Project in an effort to decrease the waste of produce that would spoil in the fields, or be taken to the local landfill. The project developed into including a food recovery aspect, as well as community gardens. To date, over 750,000 pounds of food has been recovered. CCRM also utilizes the produce for their monthly cooking and nutrition workshops to assist families in becoming more self-sufficient and educating them on nutritionally balanced meals and menu planning.

During the winter season, the Gleaning Project will be making arrangements for the 2014. This includes collecting and sorting thousands of seed packets donated to the Project, fertilizing the Gleaning Gardens’ and planning their layouts for spring, harvesting the last remnants of food from farm fields, continuing to distribute gleaned produce throughout the county, as well as starting seeds at Taylor Greenhouses in Pomfret. Our goal for 2014 is to glean enough food so that the visitors to the Friendly Kitchen will always have healthy and local food on their plates and visitors to the food pantry will have nutritious options to choose from, because every human being is deserving of a wholesome meal.

In a county that has the greatest agricultural-acreage per capita in NYS as well as some of the most charitable farmers and gardeners, there is no reason for anyone to go without fresh, healthy and locally-grown food. Anyone interested in helping out at the Gleaning Project, can contact Hannah Farley at ccrmgleaning@gmail.com or call 366-1787. Check out the website at www.glean.theccrm.org to find out more about the Gleaning Project of the Chautauqua County Rural Ministry.

If you are interested in helping out our local farmers, BUY LOCAL! CCRM is a United Way of Northern Chautauqua County community partner and supported by New York State Department of Health Division of Nutrition.