Valley’s bountiful produce gleaned for community food banks
Reducing food waste by increasing the amount of fresh local produce available in food banks and soup kitchens is the mission of Community Harvest, an offshoot of Wenatchee’s nonprofit Community Farm Connection.
Throughout 2013, Community Harvest and Wenatchee Valley College are offering free monthly workshops to kick-start gardening efforts, particularly for those who’ve never tried gardening before. They’ve covered container gardening, beneficial insectsand raised beds. Upcoming workshops focus on shopping farmers’ markets on a budget, pinpointing pest and nutrient problems, saving seeds, canning and more; a complete list is here.
Community Harvest is a gleaning program, said Hannah Hostetter, its coordinator. Hostetter commands armies of volunteers – and she can always use more – who glean produce from farms and orchards that donate their extras to the cause. The Chelan-Douglas Community Action Council steps in to help distribute the fresh fruits, vegetables and greens.
Even backyard farmers can help by designating one row in their gardens for food banks, Hostetter said.
In 2012, Community Harvest collected more than 8,000 pounds of produce that was redistributed. Already this year, about 2,500 pounds of produce has been gleaned and given.
Hostetter came to Wenatchee through the national AmeriCorps program and Rotary First Harvest. Originally from Bozeman, she served as a crew leader for the Montana Conservation Corps. She majored in environmental studies and English literature at Seattle University, and has worked with Seattle Tilth and other volunteer programs.
Those interested in attending the workshops should call Hostetter to RSVP at (509) 509-387-5372 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Also call or email to get involved in volunteering , donating produce or designating a row from your own garden for local food banks. You can find Community Harvest on Facebook.
Community Farm Connection has four other programs:
• The Farmhouse Table produce market at 10 N. Mission St., offering eggs, meats, cheeses, milk, grains and produce.
• Community Supported Agriculture. Customers pre-order boxes of fresh produce supplied by several farms that are delivered to customers’ doorsteps.
• A farm-to-chef program.
• Educational workshops for growers and the public.