In 1999, the Chautauqua County Rural Ministry, in partnership with Cornell Cooperative Extension and the Lakeview Shock Incarceration Facility, launched the Chautauqua County Gleaning Project. CCRM and Cornell were part of the county Food and Nutrition Focus Group, which was started following a report by the Basic Needs Task Force.
|Two volunteers gleaning beans at a Anderson Farm in Sinclairville|
This report identified that a large population of the poor, working poor, elderly, and children in our county were not receiving enough fruits and vegetables. The Focus Group found that Gleaning, or the second harvest of a farms’ crops, (which would otherwise have gone to waste), was an untapped resource in our county that could help meet these nutritional needs. CCRM received a seed grant from the Gebbie Foundation to launch a one-year pilot gleaning program.
With Cornell providing an established base of farmers and agricultural resources, Lakeview providing a workforce to harvest the crops and CCRM providing a means of distribution through our warehouse, Emergency Food Pantry and Friendly Kitchen, this program had the potential to be successful, with the initial goal of 10-20,000 pounds of food.In fact, this program distributed more than 75,000 pounds of produce in its first year.
Over the past 14 years, the Chautauqua County Gleaning project has recovered and distributed over 650,000 pounds of fruits and vegetables through over 60 food pantries and agencies county wide. Cornell and CCRM continued to partner in this program, compounding our successes each year.
|Making pumpkin bread pudding for a cooking and nutrition workshop in the Friendly Kitchen.|