Last month marked the fourth time in five years employees, volunteers, founders, and board members of gleaning organizations across North America gathered to share best practices. It was also the first time the group had done so virtually.

Like so many other conference organizers, making the jump to a virtual platform was not a simple task for the Association of Gleaning Organizations Executive Director and Founding Board. However, the increased accessibility of an online conference (never mind the reduced public health concerns) far outweighed the technical challenges. Because the Gleaning Symposium took place virtually, 118 individuals attended from the United States and Canada. 

Topics covered included food waste reduction, food safety, labor law, grant-writing, and more. Speakers, hosts, and panelists also signed in from across the continent, allowing for representation from a diverse set of organizational experiences. 

The staff at Glean Kentucky learned a lot. Stephanie got a good glimpse at the work it takes to host a multi-day conference, Jimmy enjoyed the discussions of software platforms, Ben gathered creative ideas to engage stakeholders in organization-wide decision-making, and Elaine enjoyed hearing about the varied approaches to growing and operating gleaning efforts from fellow attendees. 

All in all, the Symposium was another great example of the power of community-building and information-sharing among gleaning organizations, and Glean Kentucky is honored to be leading the way.