Bennington mom on a mission to spread the bounty in Hillsborough County
As the new gleaning coordinator for Hillsborough County, Gershfield is helping channel more local produce to families in need by collecting food destined for the Dumpster and delivering it to local food pantries.
The Hillsborough County Conservation District Office in Milford oversees the gleaning project, a new effort based on an old tradition.
The Boston Area Gleaners have harvested more than 200,000 pounds of surplus produce from area farms since the group began back in 2004.
At the same time, a record 48 million Americans are now enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, SNAP, which is commonly known for food stamps and which costs the country $80 billion a year. Apart from some small administrative costs, gleaning is free and actually saves businesses and communities money in waste disposal costs.
In addition to gathering produce that doesn't sell at farmers markets, Gershfield and her gleaning crew — her three young children, Rose, Jessie and Owen — have picked surplus vegetables at local farms.
She has also made the rounds to area shops and markets to pitch gleaning to owners and managers. The 1996 Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Act frees food donors from potential liability as long as they take basic steps to ensure food safety.
"As the gleaning word spreads, people will know what I do and will get involved," she said.
"People even liked the kale — the kale!" she said with a laugh.
"Nutrition has been in news and on all of the talk shows and people are interested," said Brady who added that Gershfield's gleans have been huge help for the soup kitchen and a big hit with recipients.
"People can't glean for themselves, so they need someone to do it for them," she said.
So far, Gershfield said one of the biggest paybacks for gleaning has been discovering how many farmers, vendors and individuals are willing to step up and help.
Police say Manchester woman arrested for punching ex-boyfriend during custody exchange in Walmart parking lot
132-mph street racers blow by trooper in Nashua, one of two arrested; motorcyclist arrested on I-93 doing 107 mph
Bikers say under-30 generation isn't interested, and can't afford many of the top motorcycles
Mount Washington College to close 2 campuses
Ban fireworks? Get serious
GOP criticizes Shaheen over gas tax
Sentence fragment: Coco's cuckoo release
Ayotte calls again for FCC reform