NJ Farmers Against Hunger hosted a strawberry gleaning on June 8 at Specca Farms in Springfield, NJ. The small group of volunteers was able to rescue 80 pounds of beautiful, bright red strawberries before they became overripe and inedible in the fields.
The berries will be delivered to Cathedral Kitchen of Camden, NJ for use in their Culinary Arts Training, a 17-week program in which students learn “basic culinary skills, hands-on practice in essential cooking methods and techniques, and certification in ServSafe food safety and sanitation.” There are no tuition fees for this program and textbooks, uniforms, and meals are provided to students at no cost. Assistance with job placement is also provided upon completion of the program. The program targets residents of Camden and the surrounding area who are unemployed or underemployed, and was designed to teach the skills necessary to secure employment in the food service industry.
According to The National Gleaning Project, gleaning, or the collection of unharvested food to be given to people in need, is an ancient practice that was once seen as a legal right for the poor in other countries. It is a great way to simultaneously get fresh produce into hungry mouths and reduce the environmental impact of food waste.
NJ Farmers Against Hunger (FAH) has been helping the state’s farmers give their extra produce to those in need for almost 20 years. They rescue produce from over 50 farmers, wholesale produce donors, and grocery stores all over New Jersey.
When Specca Farms noticed they had an abundance of ripe strawberries that would likely spoil, they contacted FAH to let them know. FAH then sent a message out to their network of volunteers to see if anyone was available for a morning gleaning. A small but eager group gathered to get the job done.
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For more information about ending hunger and reducing food waste, visit our Hunger Resource Center.