HUDSON, N.Y. — Following a successful October 2016 event on the Walkway Over the Hudson, Feeding the Hudson Valley organizers are preparing for a second event, on Saturday, October 7, 2017 on the Walkway Over the Hudson from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm.
Feeding the Hudson Valley is a celebration of positive solutions that address the issue of food waste and feeding local residents who are considered to be “food insecure.” In addition to offering a free lunch prepared from rescued food that would have otherwise gone to waste to Walkway visitors that day, the event will include live music, expert speakers, local chef demonstrations, educational activities and resources to create awareness about food waste, food recovery, food waste prevention and feeding hungry people, not landfills. Meals will also be prepared from the rescued food for food emergency agencies in the area.
Gleaning is the practice of collecting leftover, excess, overlooked, or not commercially viable crops from farmers to feed the needy. The term dates back to the Hebrew Bible, as the custom of allowing the poor to follow the reapers in the field to gather the fallen spears of grains which had been overlooked or forgotten during the harvest. It has since been extended by numerous grass-roots organizations as a way to direct un-used produce and products to agencies which feed those who would typically lack access to such fresh goods.
Organized by the Hudson Valley Regional Council, Hudson Valley Agribusiness Development Corporation (HVADC) is one of the participating partners, which also include; Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley, Cornell Cooperative Extension Orange County Dutchess Outreach, Dutchess County Division of Solid Waste, Family of Woodstock, Food Bank of the Hudson Valley, Long Table Harvest, Poughkeepsie Farm Project, Rescuing Leftover Cuisine, Rondout Valley Growers Association, and UlsterCorps.
While many benefit from the great bounty of fresh and local foods the Hudson Valley offers, there are many people in the region who suffer from food insecurity. Those who are food insecure lack easy and regular access to quality food and frequently go hungry. In New York state tons of edible food goes wasted; it is estimated that food totals 18% of the waste stream. Nationally, 40 percent of food in the United States goes uneaten while one in seven people struggles with hunger. Across Dutchess, Orange, Putnam and Ulster counties one in ten people receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. Many others suffer from what is considered “food insecurity.” Reducing food waste by just 15% is estimated to be enough to feed 25 million Americans.
The first Feeding the Hudson Valley event was held in October 2016, and recovered more than 3,000 pounds of food including more than 1,000 pounds of produce gleaned from local farms. The rescued food provided a free meal to more than 1,400 people; more than 600 free meals were provided on the Walkway over the Hudson and approximately 800 meals to those in need at local food assistance programs. In addition, more than 400 pounds of remaining produce was donated to local food assistance programs
Feeding the Hudson Valley is now seeking six farms to host gleaning events between September 22 and October 1. Farmers are being asked to allow a small group of volunteers to harvest or collect any excess fresh produce that would otherwise go to waste, to be used for the October 7 event. The farms will be publicly acknowledged for their generosity in printed materials and through social media. The organizers would also like to work with gardens, farmers markets, food distributors, retail grocers and restaurants to rescue food for the event.
“Through our HVADC Hudson Valley Bounty portal and Incubator Without Walls program, we have an extensive network of farms, producers, markets, distributors and restaurants that we work with and we hope will consider hosting a gleaning event or donating goods,” according Mary Ann Johnson, HVADC Projects Director. “Last year two of our clients, Fishkill Farms and Migliorelli Farms participated, and found it to be a remarkable and enlightening experience,” she continued.
“Since Feeding the Hudson Valley is a free event, we are looking for local communities and organizations to become involved by volunteering to rescue food, glean from local farms, prepare and cook food, serve at the event, and help create awareness about food waste,” said Rich Schiafo, event organizer. While all the food will be rescued or donated, the success of the event depends on having the people to prepare and serve as many meals as possible.
For volunteers interested in gleaning, there will be a Gleaning Training Workshop on Tuesday, September 19at The Barn -Vassar Barns Poughkeepsie Farm Project. Registration may be found at: Gleaning Training Workshop (https://www.eventbrite.com/e/gleaning-training-workshop-tickets-36596962500?aff=ebdsorderfblightbox)
For more information about being a donating farm, volunteering or contributing in any manner, contact Rich Schiafo at firstname.lastname@example.org or 845-564-4075 ext. 213.
Volunteers are needed prior to the event, to assist with food preparation and delivery, as well as at the actual event on October 7 to serve food, deliver food to soup kitchens, clean-up, and serve as costumed Veggie Characters. Registration may be made directly at: Feeding the Hudson Valley SignUP which may be found at: https://signup.com/client/invitation/6775657374/1965471/false#!1965471/false/false
Funding provided by the NYS Pollution Prevention Institute through a grant from the Environmental Protection Fund as administered by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Any opinions, findings, and/or interpretations of data contained herein are the responsibility of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the opinions, interpretations or policy of Rochester Institute of Technology and its NYS Pollution Prevention Institute or the State.
–Hudson Valley AgriBusiness Development Corporation
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