Have you ever watched that fruit tree on your street ripen, and noticed that most of the perfectly tasty apples ended up falling and rotting on the ground? If you hate to see good food go to waste, you’ll be relieved to hear that The Pierce County Gleaning Project is actively working towards a solution. We live in a time when thousands in our community struggle to put food on the table. Diet-related diseases in low-income populations are on the rise due to reduced access to healthy foods like fresh produce. And yet so much food just goes to waste. Gleaning is a great way to reduce food waste and relieve hunger at the same time.
The Pierce County Gleaning Project (PCGP), a collaborative effort of the Emergency Food Network, St. Leo’s Food Connection, and Rotary First Harvest, runs an urban fruit harvest in Tacoma, gleans from farms and farmers markets in the Puyallup Valley, and connects gardeners with food banks through a Plant a Row for the Hungry/Share the Harvest Program. Last year PCGP gleaned (harvested food that would otherwise go to waste) over 30,000 lbs of produce and expects to increase that this year.
Did your tomato plants produce far more than you expected this year? Do you have extra fruit on your fruit tree that you would like to see go to good use? Would you like to grow an extra row of carrots for the food bank? You can help PCGP to reduce both food waste and hunger in Pierce County.
Here’s how you can help:
Volunteer: Help pick tree fruit with your neighborhood fruit harvest group, join in on the Friday morning farm gleans, or plant an extra row for your local food bank.
1) Sign up online at www.piercecountygleaningproject.org or call 253-584-1040.
2) Attend a training to help with Tacoma fruit harvest or to learn how to set up a harvest in your own community (e.g., Gig Harbor). Training sessions will be offered:
Wednesday, July 11, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Wheelock Library, 2722 North 26th Street
Saturday, July 21, 10:30-11:30 a.m.
Moore Library, 215 South 56th Street
Register your Fruit Tree: We can help you pick your excess tree fruit and donate it to a local food bank. If you have a fruit tree, register it online at www.piercecountygleaningproject.org or call (253) 383-5048