Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Owed to Interns

When you two spectacular ladies were introduced to gleaning for the first time this Spring, I had no idea you would become the essential part of the Hancock County Gleaning Initiative's 2015 season that you are. Without you out there gleaning this season there would have been three times less food, sometimes it would not have happened, it certainly would not have been so fun, and there would certainly be fewer gleaning girl jokes, #getitgirl. And not to mention the amazing vegetable rhymes we all came up with. I saw laughter and I saw tears, but who I really saw was you my dears!
The following was written by special guest blogger, Katrina Fennelly, who spent her summer break from college interning with Healthy Acadia’s Gleaning and Healthy General Stores Initiatives.

"As anyone could expect, you see so much growth in gleaning.  There’s the more obvious growth of the produce throughout the season (at Star Root Farm I’ve been able to observe the patch of greens we’ve been gleaning grow in separate stages post-harvest).  Although this natural growth of plants is beautiful in its own right, I think the real beauty to note in the growth, is the kind that you see in the project itself – including the people.
 Just in my short time as an intern with Healthy Acadia, I’ve not only felt myself grow as a human being, but also felt new relationships blossom.  The very nature of gleaning seems to foster a deep sense of community.  Colleagues become friends, and friends become family.  There’s something about gleaning that makes one want more people to be involved;  I find myself trying to recruit people I care about to glean with us more and more frequently.  More importantly, I’ve truly enjoyed creating new relationships with individuals whom I never would have before. 
 Other than the wonderful growth of relationships, I’ve been able to observe the Gleaning Initiative itself grow tremendously.  The Gleaning Room, a new facet to this initiative, has grown from an idea to a fully functional part of our distribution processes.  This new component is a space where volunteers from the food security organizations that receive the produce can come and pick up the food – streamlining the delivery process and freeing up more time for us to spend in the fields. 
Hopefully, this blossoming new part of our project will allow room for further growth in the future.  Growth into new relationships, greater reach, and more budding farms.  Needless to say, I can’t wait to be a part of this in the days to come.

Hannah and I on my first day of gleaning:

Pat & Mike’s Garden - draping the greens with wet cloth. 

 The following was written by special guest blogger, Celia Hurvitt, who spent her summer break from high school interning with Healthy Acadia’s Gleaning Initiative, Famdrop, Misty Morning Farm and Healthy Peninsula's Magic Food Bus.

"In March of this year, I wrote a grant to my school Deerfield Academy laying out a self-designed internship in Food Security on the Blue Hill Peninsula. Through this grant, I wanted to spend my summer exploring different ways in which people are promoting fresh food across our area by volunteering at different farms and food support organizations. This summer I have had the opportunity to work on a farm, work at an online farmers market, glean with the Healthy Acadia's Gleaning Initiative, and ride along with the Magic Food Bus (MFB) passing out free local produce to people in Blue Hill, Sedgwick, and Deer Isle. 

In the beginning of the summer I worked with Sean Dooley on Misty Morning Farm. Misty Morning is a non-profit aquaponics farm that donates lettuce and eggs every Thursday to the Tree of Life food pantry in Blue Hill. I got to learn about a whole new way of growing food focused on low-input labor and year-round production.  

In July I got in touch with Hannah and started coming out gleaning on Tuesdays. Visiting the farms was an incredibly rewarding experience; through The Gleaning Initiative I have met many great and devoted farmers and I have grown to understand the challenges that come along with growing and selling food. What stunned me about gleaning is the sheer amount of food there was out there for us to pick. The challenge was not the supply but rather coordinating how to store the food we had until it got picked up by the pantries. What I liked most about gleaning was the amount of spontaneity and creative thinking it required. Every gleaning day presented a new puzzle: a farm cancelling, having too much food to harvest, or finding more storage space for the vegetables. Every day was an exercise in problem solving where we would all bounce ideas off each other until we found a solution. 

Working with The Gleaning Initiative gave me the sense that every day we were doing something life changing because what we were doing made so much sense. Every day we were putting something back into the world that would have gone to waste. Yesterday, for example, wraps up my summer perfectly. At 8:30am Hannah picked me up and we visited three farms, one to pick up food, and the other two to glean carrots and tomatoes. From there I got in the car with a Magic Food Bus volunteer and we brought gleaned vegetables to the Blue Hill Wine Shop where Farmdrop was just starting. I boxed up the MFB food purchased through Farmdrop  (including the peaches that my grant had bought that week - half of my grant money went to purchasing “kid friendly” food like fruit for the MFB) and we made our way with a car full of food to the Sedgwick School. In Sedgwick we sorted food for the three MFB delivery routes. I then jumped in the truck with Wes Norton on the run to Deer Isle-Stonington. When passing out food in Deer Isle, many people asked where it had come from and it was a real delight telling them about gleaning the tomatoes that same morning and knowing how many people got to enjoy that food. 

This summer has turned into something more than I ever would have thought. I have learned a tremendous amount and my experiences have given me a whole new perspective on what goes into feeding people. I hope to continue working with food on the peninsula in the summers to come!" 

Contact: hannah@healthyacadia.org / 667-7171
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