When Humboldt County residents grow more vegetables or fruit than they can use, a Food for People program helps them pick it forward.
Volunteers collect -- or glean -- usable excess produce from farmers and residents, which is then cleaned, sorted and distributed by Food for People. The program collected more than 73,000 pounds of produce in 2013, one of the most successful gleaning years on record for the organization.
For the first time this year, program coordinator Laura Hughes will help train people to develop a more organized group of team leaders to glean on her behalf.
”Our main limitation last year was that I'm just one person,” Hughes said. “By developing an official volunteer crew, we could glean a lot more. Food is a basic human right. Fresh produce is absolutely necessary for a healthy diet, but many folks can't afford it.”
Betty Osborne, a Food For People board member who donates to the program, said she doesn't ever want to see food go to waste.
”It makes me unhappy,” Osborne said. “I have such an abundance of apples that grow on my property. I really want to share them with people who don't have the opportunity to grow them.”
Gleaning for the program happens year-round, but gets busier from late June through October and November, when volunteers are needed the most.
To learn more about volunteering for Food for People's gleaning program, contact Laura Hughes at 445-3166 or