Conditions were ideal Monday for Plentiful Partnership of Niagara, a program of Cornell Cooperative Extension Niagara, to field glean at Tom Tower's Farm, 759 Lockport Road, Youngstown. Fifty-five bushels of tomatoes (2,750 pounds) were gleaned (picked) by 21 "Glean Team" volunteers and distributed by Plentiful Partnership of Niagara to area food pantries and soup kitchens.
Niagara County's food insecurity rate is 17.2 percent. To fight that, the following food pantries and soup kitchens were served across the county:
Community Missions of Niagara Frontier, Niagara Falls
Heart, Love, and Soul Dining Room, Niagara Falls
St. Joseph's Outreach Center, Niagara Falls
NiCAP (Niagara Community Action Program), Niagara Falls
Care and Share Food Pantry, Ransomville
Wilson Community Food Pantry, Wilson
Newfane Community Food Pantry, Newfane
Sister Mary Loretto Soup Kitchen, Lockport
Barker Community Food Pantry, Barker
Middleport Food Pantry, Middleport
Every year, 99,935 pounds of produce, on average, go to waste in Niagara County (based on reporting from eight farms across the county). There is a great deal of produce that can be recovered and put to good use. Food recovery, or gleaning, is the process of rescuing produce from both farmer's fields and farmer's markets that would otherwise go to waste. The food is distributed to those individuals in need.
Monday's successful field glean was made possible thanks to the support of 21 hard-working volunteers, including helpers from Opportunities Unlimited and six additional CCE staff members. Cornell Cooperative Extension of Niagara County offered thanks to Tom Tower and his staff for their generosity.
Plentiful Partnership of Niagara aims to reduce food insecurity, alleviate hunger, connect local farmers to area distribution systems, and keep Niagara County produce local. More than 150 totes (or 7,500 pounds) of produce have been collected since the onset of PPN in April and distributed to more than 47,892 Niagara County residents.
PPN seeks volunteers for upcoming field and market gleans. For more information, contact Margaret Lapp (Cornell Cooperative Extension) at 716-433-8839, ext. 232, or [email protected]. Volunteer forms can be found here: http://cceniagaracounty.org/program-areas/creating-healthy-places-to-live-work-and-play/nap-sacc/.
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Niagara County is a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization with programming that benefits children, families, farmers, seniors and communities across Niagara County.
Tom Tower explains how to properly glean tomatoes, and gives a tomato-picking lesson to the PPN "Glean Team."
Some of Plentiful Partnership of Niagara's "Glean Team" before the start of the tomato field glean.