The hustle and bustle of Manna Soup Kitchen on a Wednesday afternoon has increased this summer with the addition of the Manna Market free produce stand. The number of families attending Manna's wednesday night dinner has increased to an all time high. Prior to the Manna Market season, The Garden Project reached out to local organizations and non-profits who serve food insecure families. In addition to community outreach and community partners, word of mouth is also gaining momentum. The need is certainly here and the demand has for the most part been met. But with increasing momentum, the need for more food rescue efforts in Durango is certain.
August 24th was the largest Manna Market so far this summer...
The market served 81 people and distributed around 400 lbs of fresh produce and fruit. Typically around 100 lbs of produce comes from the Manna Garden and the rest of the produce is donated by Durango Farmer's Market, local produce stands or other local farms who have excess produce. Typically around September we begin to get calls in from local farmers because they may have extra produce but they certainly don't have the capacity to pick it all (aka glean) and donate.
The Manna Market was started as an outlet to get fresh organic and local produce to food insecure families who need it. The garden serves the market and produce was formerly distributed as a weekly CSA. The Manna Market serves more local families than the CSA and offers people a selection similar to that of the farmer's market. The market setting also serves to create a sense of belonging at farmer's markets.
A secondary but very important aspect of the Manna Market is diverting fresh and nutritious produce from the waste stream. After visiting and working on different organic farms and gardens, it becomes apparent that a lot of food either goes to waste in the field or gets thrown in the compost pile due to time restraints. If only there was a funded local group dedicated to capturing that food waste. The outlet for distribution exists but the gleaning hands don't yet. Hopefully this blog post will leave you with the inspiration to either start a Durango Food Rescue crew of gleaners or it leaves you with a thoughtful hope for capturing more food waste.
PS - Feel free to email with suggestions....firstname.lastname@example.org