The OFH Glean Team seeks volunteers to help glean produce
New “Glean Team” part of OFH’s goal to distribute more healthy food to area pantries
SPRINGFIELD, Mo.— Ozarks Food Harvest volunteers have been harvesting fresh produce for community members in need this summer as a part of OFH’s new “Glean Team,” but The Food Bank is in need of more individuals to donate their time in fields and gardens around the Ozarks.
“Our volunteers have been coordinating the garden at Glendale High School, while school’s out, and in exchange, we’re able to harvest hundreds of pounds of produce for our area food pantries,” said Christy Claybaker, community engagement coordinator at Ozarks Food Harvest. “Because of our success there, we’ve started a Glean Team, so that more volunteers can help harvest produce from other area gardens that would like to get involved in our hunger-relief efforts.”
The OFH Glean Team is a group of volunteers who rescue produce from community gardens, urban landscapes, farms and orchards that might have otherwise gone to waste. It’s a new partnership with Harvest On Wheels, Springfield Urban Agriculture Coalition and Springfield Community Gardens.
The Glean Team is harvesting tonight, Monday, July 21, from 6–7:30 p.m. at Stanley Gardens, 5028 S. Coverdale in Battlefield. Organizers believe the harvest could yield 500 to 1,000 pounds of green beans.
Fassnight Creek Farm allowed Ozarks Food Harvest volunteers to glean its fields twice so far this summer. On June 27, about a half dozen volunteers harvested 575 pounds of green beans and squash, and on July 17, high school leadership seniors harvested another 569 pounds of potatoes and lettuce.
Produce harvested goes to Ozarks Food Harvest which serves its network of 200 pantries and programs across 28 counties. The Food Bank distributes 15 million pounds of food annually and more than 20 percent is fresh produce — double the amount of produce distributed two years ago.
Volunteers should apply at ozarksfoodharvest.org/volunteer and designate gardening as an interest. The current schedule is set for Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6–7:30 p.m. or Wednesday and Saturday mornings from 8–9:30 a.m., through Oct. 31. To learn more about volunteering, contact Jo Thompson at (417) 865-3411. Farmer partners wishing to donate fields and gardens for gleaning should contact Christy Claybaker at (417) 865-3411.
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About Ozarks Food Harvest
Ozarks Food Harvest is the Feeding America food bank for southwest Missouri, serving 200 organizations across 28 Ozarks counties. The Food Bank distributes more than 12.5 million meals annually to 170,000 unduplicated individuals. Learn more at ozarksfoodharvest.org, facebook.com/ozarksfoodharvest or twitter.com/ozksfoodharvest.