The Community Kitchen Inc., Serving the Monadnock Region since 1983
 
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Gleaning News
Community Garden Connections- Weekly Garden Parties
WANT TO HAVE SOME FUN IN A GARDEN WITH SOME REALLY NICE PEOPLE? WELL YOU CAN .. read on!  Weekly Garden Parties!

Reminder: Volunteers Needed! Come join the staff of Community Garden Connections to volunteer your spare time out at the Westmoreland Garden Project! These garden parties are happening every Tuesday from 4-6pm through October. Volunteering your time out at the garden is rewarding and FUN! We are looking forward to seeing you!

The contact person for the Westmoreland Garden Party Gleaning is Ben Currotto. You can reach him at bcurrotto@antioch.edu.


**The produce harvested at the Westmoreland Garden Project is donated to the Keene Community Kitchen for community members with limited access to fresh produce.**
 

     
TCK's Gleaning Program    
 
The Community Kitchen, Inc. (TCK) of Keene NH implemented the first full year of its gleaning program, which was initiated in July of 2013. The gleaning program is one of six regional gleaning programs supported by NH Gleans, part of the University of New Hampshire’s Farm to School program. TCK’s local program provides a year-round, 30-hours per week for Sarah Harpster, the Gleaning Coordinator, covering the area of Cheshire County, NH. The mission of the gleaning coordinator is principally to capture fresh, locally grown produce which is at risk of being wasted, usually due to overproduction for the market. In Cheshire County, an active food movement has greatly enhanced the local gleaning program. Many local businesses and organizations grew produce specifically for the purpose of donating it to the charitable food system.

Our Second Year
In its second year, the Gleaning Program collected 34,371 pounds of produce grown in Cheshire County, up from 24,480 in 2013. The sources can be divided into three main categories. Produce that was “gleaned” in the traditional sense, harvested on-site by the Gleaning Coordinator and volunteers (NOT counting gardens that were grown for the purpose of charity), totaled 11,948 pounds. An additional 4,285 pounds of produce were grown in gardens designated for charitable donation (and mostly harvested by the Gleaning Coordinator). The bulk of donations, 18,138 pounds of produce, were harvested by the producers themselves and picked up on farms or dropped off at The Community Kitchen.

COMMUNITY OUTREACH, COLLABORATION AND EDUCATION
During the winter months of 2014, an effort was made to spread the word in the community about the new gleaning program, with an emphasis on recruiting new volunteers to be ready to participate in harvest gleaning events. A special focus was to reach out to local religious congregations and request opportunities to speak to Sunday community forums and other gatherings, especially when a focus was on missions and community outreach. We also corresponded with charitable and fraternal organizations and made presentations at several of their meetings. Meanwhile, The Community Kitchen was invited to speak on the local radio station, and the Keene Sentinel ran two articles that touched on the Gleaning Program. Later in the year, the Monadnock Table ran a feature article on the Gleaning Program. By the end of 2014, our “gleaning alerts” email list (the list that goes to all potential volunteers) had grown to over 140 names, up from 58 members in 2013.

We were also able to participate in community-wide activities celebrating Food Day in October. Our various tabling activities through the year yielded new volunteers, raised community recognition of the program, and allowed us to introduce the issue of local hunger into on-going community conversations around civic engagement and local food. On several occasions during the year, we collaborated with the Keene Farmer’s Market to raise awareness about local food and their Double Up Veggie Bucks program.

SHARING THE HARVEST
The Gleaning Program was once again able to share gleaned produce with School Administrative Unit 29, delivering 2,200 pounds of apples to their food service program. Additionally, The Community Kitchen shared about 450 pounds of gleaned produce with other local food charity agencies that collect food at The Community Kitchen and distribute it in their local communities in Cheshire County.

LESSONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
In 2014, our program experienced a tremendous outpouring of enthusiasm for investing time and sweat into providing fresh local produce to people who are less able to access healthy food. We had been unprepared for the great interest in growing food for charity that would emerge in Cheshire County. It provided a very positive series of opportunities, and a few challenges as well. There were seven sites that were growing food for The Community Kitchen, and five of them required harvesting services from the Gleaning Coordinator once or twice a week. We have reflected that our commitments to gleaning these smaller sites reduced the time and scheduling flexibility not only to respond to calls for farmbased gleaning opportunities, but also for making connections and initial visits to potential new farmers.

In 2015, we worked with partners like Antioch University New England and Community Garden Connections, to reduce the Gleaning Coordinator’s responsibility to harvesting in charitable gardens. We have been able to hire a summer intern to work with the Gleaning Coordinator and coordinate gleaning activities for the charitable gardens. Our goal in focusing gleaning resources on more gleaning events is to engage five new farms in on-farm gleans in 2015, while continuing our relationships with all the previously-engaged farms.
   
 
 
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GLEANING SOURCES    
 Local farms that have invited us to glean:
     
Abenaki Springs Farm
Green Wagon Farm
High Hopes Orchard
Maple Lane Farm
Mayfair Farm
My Friends Farm
New Dawn Farm
  Nye Hill Farm
Orchard Hill Farm
Picadilly Farm
Stonewall Farm
The 1780 Farm
Tracie's Community Farm
Wingate Farm
 
 Area sources of produce for the gleaning program:
     
Community Garden Connections Project (gardens on Antioch campus and Westmoreland community site)
C & S Wholesale Grocers (Summit Rd. and Optical Ave.)
Cheshire Fairgrounds CSA
Monadnock Berries
  Cheshire Gardens
Keene Farmer's Market
Willing Hands (VT)
and home gardeners too!
 
 The following groups are currently planting gardens for the first time this year to support
 the gleaning program:
     
The Monadnock Humane Society
UPS
  Liberty Mutual
 
 Support for the gleaning program comes from:
     
The Bishop's Charitable Assistance Fund
New Hampshire Charitable Foundation
  University of New Hampshire Farm to School Program
 
 With technical support from:
     
Boston Area Gleaners (MA)   Salvation Farms (VT)
     
     
     
 

Volunteer Gleaner, Jen at Stonewall Farm in April 2014
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The Community Kitchen, Inc.
, 37 Mechanic St., P.0. Box 1315, Keene, NH  03431  (603) 352-3200 Fax (603) 355-0179 
Partner Member of the Coalition for NH Food Pantries        FIN 22.2473346