harvesting for the hungry

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Gleaning the Lexington Farmers’ Market
Jun 12, 2018 by Ben Southworth

The vendors at the Lexington Farmers’ Market are some of GleanKY’s longest-standing supporters – back in the summer of 2010, GleanKY volunteers approached farmers at the market to ask what they did with all that produce they had left over at the end of a week at the market. So often, the answer was ‘sometimes we can take it somewhere to donate’ or ‘we wish there was an easier way to get our extra produce to people who could use it.’ Those volunteers said ‘we can help!’, and between June and December of that year, that initial group had rescued over 37,000 pounds of produce for Lexington’s food insecure population.

 

Those efforts have snowballed into something truly special and even further reaching nowadays, but our relationship with the Lexington Farmers’ Market is just as important to us these eight years later as it was when things got started. Starting each June, we start sending volunteers around the market with black produce crates as farmers are closing things up for the day. Farmers recognize us instantly in our neon green t-shirts – our volunteers recognize longtime supporters by the multiple iterations of ‘I Support GleanKY’ stickers proudly displayed behind their cash registers. We leave the crates with the farmers, returning in 10-15 minutes to collect dozens of crates filled with some of the highest-quality, lovingly-packaged, locally-grown produce you could imagine.

 

All that beautiful produce gets weighed and packed up into one of our big GleanKY vans and is driven directly to residents at Cardinal Valley Park for distribution. Once we arrive, we reverse the van up to the picnic shelter in the park, where our friends from the neighborhood help us unload the van into the building. It has become one of our most smoothly orchestrated operations over these eight years, but every time we get back into this routine it feels just as fresh and exciting to us as it did in 2010.

 

If you want to be a part of this, you can sign up to glean with us on our page on SignUp.com, or you can email us at ben@gleanky.org for more information – we’re sure you won’t regret it!

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