Commissioner Scott Soares
Commissioner, Department of Agriculture Resources (DAR)
Gleaning is the act of harvesting leftover crops from farm fields and orchards that would otherwise not be harvested. Considering that these crops are quite literally the fruits of a farmer's labor, farmers are of course interested in finding opportunities for this food not to go to waste. Solution: Helping solve hunger!
The volunteers that help glean these crops provide an opportunity to move these crops from field-to- fork by harvesting and then delivering them to food pantries, food banks and other hunger relief organizations. USDA estimates about 96 billion pounds of pre-consumer food are wasted each year. With approximately 600,000 Massachusetts residents struggling to feed themselves, this is a wonderful way to recover some of this safe and nutritious food that would otherwise get thrown away.
Even though these crops are left behind, they are still fresh and good quality. There are all kinds of reasons why produce might not be marketable. Often it’s for cosmetic reasons, a blemish on an apple or a bruised squash. Sometimes the market price due has dropped below the harvest cost due to a high volume of a particular crop.
On October 24, I joined Governor Patrick, EEA Secretary Sullivan and Congressman Jim McGovern and many enthusiastic volunteers from 4H, the Boston Area Gleaners, Project Bread and the Food Project at The Food Project Community Farm in Lincoln and the Tougas Family Farm in Northboro. Together we gleaned well over five bushels of carrots and 2,040 pounds of apples!
The Massachusetts Gleaning Network includes farms, volunteers, service agencies, food banks and other organizations – our role is to help them partner with one another in gleaning projects across our Commonwealth.
Gleaning is one of the most rewarding activities I’ve ever participated in and I hope you’ll join the effort.
For more information about the Massachusetts Gleaning Network contact Rose Arruda at 617.626.1849 or Rose.Arruda@state.ma.us.
Not From Around Here: Green Crabs posted on Aug 22
As part of its work to assess salt marsh health, staff from the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) have frequently observed abundant green crabs, often burrowing in the banks of marsh creeks. This summer, CZM is examining the potential impacts of green crabs in salt marsh habitats, including the impact of burrowing activity.
Plan a Day Trip – Right in Boston Harbor! posted on Aug 18
Looking for a fun day trip for you and possibly your family? Look no further, the Boston Harbor Islands are the place to be. Lots of events take place on these islands during the summer months, so enjoy these festivities while they are here! Spectacle …Continue Reading Plan a Day Trip – Right in Boston Harbor!
K-9 to the Rescue posted on Aug 13
At 5:35 p.m. on Thursday, July 24, Officer Art O’Connell got a call about two missing girls in Douglas State Park. Officer O’Connell, his partner Diesel and a back up state trooper had to search the 5,900-acre, nine square mile, park on foot, as the canopy of the trees was too thick to search via helicopter and the ground too uneven to search by vehicle.