Gleaning Wisdom: Midsummer Update
Gleaning Wisdom is a blog featuring Farm to Food Bank Coordinator Amy Cawley as she shares the latest updates on partner farms, what produce is coming from the Eastern Shore, and which awesome volunteers are helping our program thrive.
July and August are the busiest months of the year for the Farm to Food Bank Program as we receive the greatest volume of produce. If you were to tour our Baltimore and Salisbury warehouses you would see a variety of farm fresh produce including sweet corn, potatoes, cucumbers, squash, green beans, cantaloupes, watermelon, and tomatoes.
“What happens next?” Once the produce hits the MFB dock, it is weighed and enters our online inventory list. From there, our network of partners can see what we have and place an order for what their clients need.
At that point, the Maryland Food Bank delivers the produce or the network partner picks up from the warehouse directly. The partner is then responsible for getting the fruits and vegetables into the hands of food-insecure Marylanders.
Gleaning Wisdom from the Numbers
During the month of July, the Farm to Food Bank program featured:
- 25 farmers
- 187,209 pounds of produce:
- 38,039 pounds gleaned by volunteers and pre-release inmates
- 94,426 pounds of donated produce
- 54,744 pounds of produce purchased from Eastern Shore farms
We Couldn’t Do It Without You
A special note of thanks to a handful of farms, farmers, and other organizations for being such great Farm to Food Bank partners:
- Mason Farms Produce in Queen Anne County;
- King Hill, an individual in Talbot County who raises potatoes for us;
- Hummingbird Farms;
- Heritage Orchard;
- Richard Engle;
- B & K Farms, which donated 75 bins of watermelons;
- Serenity Farm;
- First Fruits Farm; and
- Farming 4Hunger
An Eagle Scout is Gleaning Wisdom and a ‘Ton of Food’
In my last Gleaning Wisdom blog post I told you about our partnership with NRG and Black Gold Farms, and the variety of produce being grown on this 3.5 acres of donated land. I’m thrilled to share the news that a young man from Dorchester County is now raising various produce on an acre of this land for his Eagle Scout Project as well.
You can follow his progress on his Facebook page Stephen’s Eagle Scout Project. So far, his project has produced 1,915 pounds of fresh produce including squash, green peppers, tomatoes, cantaloupe, and eggplant, with more expected. Stephen is excited, knowing he soon will be able to say that he has literally grown a “ton of food!”
As we enter the month of August, I look forward to continued gleanings and hope that there is a farmer out there who will have excess watermelons to donate or an area of their field we can glean. If you can help, please email me.
We will continue to purchase farm fresh produce from across Maryland to supplement our donations and gleaned produce. I am always happy to discuss this wonderful program and welcome any questions you may have. Please do not hesitate to message me on our Farm to Food Bank Facebook page.
Thanks for reading and following the Farm to Food Bank program!
About the Author
Amy Cawley has been the coordinator of the Farm to Food Bank Program since 2010. She has a deep passion for agriculture, which fuels her efforts to make sure that every food-insecure Marylander has consistent access to nutritious, fresh produce.
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