Fall is in the air! As gardeners and farmers, we all know what that means. Soon enough our killing frost will put an end to our season. For many of the farmer's this also means a well deserved vacation. After working a long hard season by the time fall rolls around, farmer's are typically ready to toss in their hat and call it for the season. Without extra helping hands it's a real challenge to get everything harvested from the field prior to that killing frost or in a timely manner. By finding ways to pick this produce before it turns to mush, gleaners are seizing an opportunity to connect wasted food to food pantries and food banks. While the waste from farms is typically utilized as a form of carbon or nitrogen in the never-ending compost loop, it remains a better food source.
Without calculating the full life cycle cost of a tomato or zucchini, I think we can all agree that fresh vegetables are better as FOOD than compost. AmpleHarvest.org states that 100 billions pounds of food are wasted in the United States annually and 50 million people in the US are "food insecure". This waste happens on a macro and micro level, with large commercial entities destroying food and small backyard gardeners producing more than they can use each year. With the help of interested local farmers and gardener's, The Garden Project, Manna Soup Kitchen, Cooking Matters, and the Fort Lewis Environmental Center are working on connecting fresh produce to people who need it the most. Inspired by the Denver Food Rescue, and Ample Harvest we are hoping to bridge the gap in Durango.
Thanks to local farmers offering up their harvest here in Durango, more than 3,000 pounds of fresh squash, corn, zuchinni, tomatoes, peppers and other vegetables have been donated to the Manna Soup Kitchen this year. Sutherland Farms and Rohwer's Farm have been extremely generous and we are so very thankful for their offers. Please feel free to contact Brooke@thegardenpojectswcolorado.org if you have larger scale gleaning opportunities before our impending frost. If you are a home gardener please contact the Manna Soup Kitchen or the Durango Food Bank to make a donation.