Quick reminder: The Arkansas Local Food Network gave Feed Fayetteville a $500 grant in 2013 for their Care Cropping program, a program that works to collect excess local produce for communities in need. This is the first update of the year on how the project is going!
From Adrienne Shaunfield…
It’s springtime and the Fayetteville’s Farmer’s Market is back in full swing! We were so excited to see all the smiling faces on the Square on Saturday, seeing old friends and catching up with our local farmers. This week also kicks off the beginning of market gleaning. Gleaning refers to the act of collecting excess produce from the farmer’s market in order to distribute it to those in need.
Market gleaning at the Fayetteville Farmers’ Market is a partnership between Seeds that Feed, Fayetteville Farmers’ Market, and Feed Fayetteville. After the market ends, leftover produce is collected, weighed, sorted and prepared for pick-up. Gleaned produce is distributed among local non-profits and churches that serve community meals or have pantries.
This year we are trying some new things to become more efficient in transportation and distribution of the produce. We are excited to be able to use our new Community Food Hub, literally as a ‘hub,’ to do the washing, weighing and sorting of the produce. We are also becoming greener gleaners by reducing the amount of plastic bags used during the process. We are also going to work hard to encourage market patrons to purchase extra for hunger relief.
This year we will also be working on a few new projects with the gleaned produce that we are really excited about. We’ve partnered with the U of A Food Science department to create some added value products using the gleaned produce. This is a trial project to create some local, nutrient dense shelf-stable food items that can be used in weekend snack pack programs at area schools. We are also part of a collaboration called Sunday Supper, a community meal that takes place every Sunday at Trinity United Methodist Church. It is a collaboration between Tri Cycle Farms, Trinity United Methodist, First Presbyterian, St. Paul’s Methodist, First Christian, Good Shepherd Lutheran, Arkansas Hunger Alliance, and Feed Fayetteville. Together we are filling the gap in meal services in our community by adding a Sunday meal. Each partner takes a turn at preparing and serving the meal, which includes live music and children’s activities and is open to all community residents. We work to include local foods at every meal. We will partner with Seeds that Feed to hand out fresh farmers market produce at the meal to those who need it. We are also expanding to be at two different Saturday markets: the downtown square and Botanical Gardens of the Ozarks, as well as our Tuesday and Thursday market days. Seeds that Feed attended a class on food safety at the University of Arkansas that will help us to focus upon proper food handling techniques at all times.
Here’s to a great market season!
The Feed Fayetteville, Fayetteville Farmers’ Market and Seeds that Feed team