Dear Local Producer,
Food security is a public health issue gaining recognition at local and global levels. In Canada, many individuals are experiencing a lack of food security, which significantly impacts health outcomes. In Chatham-Kent, almost 8% of the population faces food insecurity. The Chatham-Kent Food Policy Council has determined that food access is a priority area and have been working to develop a gleaning project for Chatham-Kent.
Gleaning is one initiative that works to support food security by increasing food availability, food access, and food use. Gleaning is commonly understood as the act of collecting leftover crops from farmers’ fields after they have been commercially harvested, or collecting produce individual homeowners who have excess in the gardens or on fruit trees.
As a first step, in June 2014, a forum was held to bring together individuals who were interested in hearing what had been done in other communities. During the summer of 2015, we conducted a pilot project and this was expanded into a full program during the 2016 harvest season. We continue to work closely with local producers and have been successful at bringing leftover produce to local service agencies in the community such as local food banks, soup kitchens, cooking programs, youth program, and other agencies that support individuals in our communities. During the 2017 harvest season we were successful at bringing seven different crops of leftover produce from eight producers to nine local service agencies in the community.
We would like to continue to expand the program to include more local agencies and more local farmers, and would like to invite you to participate in the Chatham-Kent Gleaning Project.
Equipping people to rescue surplus produce from fields and gardens.
Expectations for participating producers:
- Participating producers will need to provide their contact information, the location of the fields to be gleaned, the types of crops that are available for gleaning/pick up, and how we can access them.
- Producers will be responsible to advise (by phone or email) as fields are ready to be gleaned. We will work with producers to arrange the date and time that works best for them to have the gleaners come to their fields.
- To keep volunteers safe, farmers must inform us of any special instructions/additional training required for the gleaning process. All volunteers will be required to participate in and receive Safety training through the health unit, and are covered by the municipality volunteer policy for insurance purposes.
Thank you for your interest in the Chatham-Kent Gleaning Project.
For additional information or to be involved in the program, please contact:
Phone: 519-352-7270, ext 2478