Most folks don’t realize that gleaning (reaping of the un-marketed) can happen year-round in Vermont. Through consistent communication and professionally coordinated service to farms, gleaners can collect in every calendar month whether from fields/orchards, green/hoop-houses, wash/pack-houses, and farmers markets. But it is during the height of August’s heat and the threat of September frosts that make this time of year the season of the gleaner. Astrologically, the sun is traversing the sign of Virgo, often depicted as a reaper but historically identified as a gleaner. It is also the transition of summer to fall and the ripening of the Harvest Moon. All things align at this time to benefit the gleaner—and the eater. Let’s each do our part…To glean in areas around Vermont—become a gleaner with the: VermontGleaningCollective.org
From facilitating the Vermont Gleaning Collective to exploring how to manage large volumes of fruits and vegetables through our Vermont Commodity Program, our work wouldn’t happen without partners and collaborators throughout the state.
Through partnerships is where Salvation Farms’ mission will find stability. Working to build resilience and food independence in Vermont by managing surplus farm-raised food, our approach is dependent on cross-sector partners…since no element of the food system stands in isolation.
In building agreed-upon values of professional program services to farms, safe and educational experiences for volunteers/workers, and a dignified food experience for eaters—responsibly managing the tremendous amounts of quality food currently going to waste on Vermont farms can be a real and vital part of our food system.
“Eating is an agricultural act.” – Wendell Berry, conservationist, farmer, novelist, professor, and poet
“The work you’re doing is genius…and yet, it’s obvious — why isn’t everyone doing this work?” – Amy Kirschner, VBSR Marketplace
“Food access, in all forms, is an issue that needs continued addressing, as does reducing our waste & becoming more self-sufficient and resilient communities. Thank you for DIRECTLY addressing these issues!” -Mollie Wills, Rural Vermont Community Relations Coordinator
One organization that has undoubtedly allowed us to scale up our work and impact is Vermont Youth Tomorrow’s AmeriCorps VISTA Program, which we have partnered with since 2013. We are grateful to VYT and to the individual VISTA members who serve & served with Salvation Farms, steadily building capacity of our programs!
This August we welcomed two new VISTA members to our team, Karissa Smith and Julia Scheier – each focusing on Salvation Farms’ major programs.
Karissa Smith is our Vermont Gleaning Collective AmeriCorps VISTA – a new position with Salvation Farms. Karissa has visited with member organizations of the Vermont Gleaning Collective, supported a quarterly meeting of the Collective, and organized gleaning events with food distributed both through the Vermont Gleaning Collective member organizations and via Salvation Farms’ own Vermont Commodity Program pilot programs to pack & process.
Julia Scheier joins us as our Vermont Commodity Program AmeriCorps VISTA – building on the service of Laurel Ferland, who served in this role last year. Julia will support the evolution of our Vermont Commodity Program – with a special emphasis on building new partnerships to let us to create stable and diversified ways to manage large volumes of surplus fruits and vegetables.
We’ve spent the last six months educating funders about our program transition out of SE State Correctional Facility and our quest for a suitable community-based home for the Vermont Commodity Program. In tandem to this exploration we are discussing another contract with the Department of Corrections to devise a Correctional Industry business and vocation plan. If this is to be created in partnership, the Department would be responsible for funding, staffing, and running the industry and vocational components as they do with their other industries.
The search for a suitable community location and program partners is well underway. This fall we are meeting with stakeholders statewide that cross all sectors, from state agencies to for-profits to non-profits.
Meanwhile, through another initiative of the Vermont Commodity Program here in Morrisville, we are continuing to glean and process food through our pilot program with our partner Meals on Wheels of Lamoille County. While Meals on Wheels navigates a transition of their Director, the organization’s board and staff remain committed to continuing our grant-funded project. To date we’ve processed three gleaned crops, putting more than 1,137 servings of local, surplus veggies into the freezer for future use in their meals.
Though our work and focus is largely statewide, it’s a special privilege to partner with so many organizations right here in the Lamoille Valley. The Lamoille Community Food Share (LCFS), based in Morrisville, is one of Salvation Farms’ original partners. For more than ten years we’ve helped them meet their mission to support and improve the physical well-being of individuals who might otherwise go hungry.
LCFS provides supplemental food free of charge in a supportive environment, striving to offer healthy choices whenever possible—serving an average of 345 families per month.
In recent years Salvation Farms has provided thousands of pounds of apples, potatoes, and other crops cleaned and packed via our work at SE State Correctional Facility. LCFS has also been eager to distribute processed and frozen gleaned foods. They remain by our side as we continue creating new ways to bring Vermont’s farm bounty to all the state’s residents.
“Ten years ago, LCFS wanted to find a way to provide fresh produce for our clients and were fortunate to connect with Salvation Farms. Their vision and leadership have brought us gleaned vegetables from sources large and small. Because of this, we are now able to maintain a year round selection of offerings.” – Deb Krempecke, LCFS Manager
Another Morrisville neighbor, Rock Art Brewery, is brewing the Salvation Farms’ Humble Harvester IPA once again this fall—just in time for the celebration at Moog’s Place (last weekend) and upcoming full harvest moon. Look for the eye catching label at stores in Vermont, request it, or order it at Moog’s, where 50¢ of each pour is donated to Salvation Farms!
Salvation Farms also sends a special note of appreciation to the 53 new donors & 55 returning donors who made our summer fundraising challenge such a success. Also—thank you to our challenge grant donor! In total $21,885 was secured in unrestricted funding. This success is making our work possible during this slow income generating/fundraising time of year.
Recent grant support includes funds from the David Greenewalt Charitable Trust for the Gleaners Interface and the Fountain Fund in support of our overarching mission. We have several pending requests—including invitations to apply from two foundations new to our work.
Even with our recent funding successes, a 50% gap remains to meet our projected 2015 budget needs.
“We truly believe in the important work/mission of getting nutritious food to the people who need it, plus keeping that food from going to waste – a perfect combination!” -Betsy & Bob Almeter, donors
“I believe in improving our food systems here in Vermont. I love the ideas of this organization!” -Cynthia West, volunteer & donor
Increase your impact and become a donor today: https://www.razoo.com/story/Salvation-Farms
…Plus, we will send you our Equinox and Solstice newsletters – a quarterly update on how you are helping us meet our mission of building resilience in Vermont’s food system through agricultural surplus management.
We hope you’ll join us as a supporter in this critical time. Salvation Farms’ team is growing, community conversations are building in strength, partner engagement is deepening, and our vision is progressing. As was the challenge more than ten years ago when we started gleaning, creating understanding, appreciations, and buy-in to new and complex approaches takes time and commitment. This work, engaging a mix of populations and partners to keep something as basic and essential to us all as food from going to waste, has such quality and power. Not only will we make individuals more secure today but we’ll make ourselves more secure tomorrow.
Wishing you a reflective & healthful Fall Equinox – Salvation Farms Team