TRENTON, N.J. — New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher has announced the New Jersey Agricultural Society, Bushels of Blessings and the Foodshed Alliance will share a $100,000 Gleaning Support Grant, made possible through the Department of Agriculture’s State Food Purchase Program.
“New Jersey’s extremely generous farmers regularly give back to their communities by allowing organizations to pick and collect surplus produce that might have gone to waste and in turn, donate the produce to emergency feeding agencies,” Secretary Fisher said. “This funding will go a long way to helping these three gleaning organizations continue to collect and distribute this healthy food to those in need.”
The Department of Agriculture provides Gleaning Support Grants to eligible non-profit entities that are gleaning from New Jersey farms and distributing gleaned food to New Jersey organizations to help feed the State’s hungry.
The New Jersey Agricultural Society Program will receive a $58,240 grant and is dedicated to collecting fresh fruits and vegetables from farms, farm markets, wholesalers and food distributors and distributing them to 70 agencies throughout the state. Started in 1996 by a few area farmers, the program now includes more than 60 farmers.
Bushels of Blessings, based in Carney’s Point, will receive a $26,260 grant. The agency has successfully gleaned more than 200,000 pounds of food in Salem and Gloucester counties and distributed this surplus produce to almost 40 organizations.
The Foodshed Alliance in Blairstown, which operates LocalShare, will receive $15,500 in grant funds. LocalShare is a program that connects food pantries and local farms so that crops left after the harvest, which might otherwise go to waste, feed hungry families instead. They utilize volunteers to help with gleanings and deliver to food pantries.
The organization works with dozens of emergency feeding organizations throughout northern New Jersey.
The funding for the Gleaning Grants comes from the State Food Purchase Program, for which Gov. Murphy allocated $6.8 million this year to be distributed quarterly to the State’s six food banks to purchase healthy food, with a high priority on buying locally grown produce from New Jersey farmers.
— New Jersey Department of Agriculture