County’s produce gleaning project tops expectations
Garfield County LiveWell
LiveWell Garfield County’s Gleaning Project has collected more than 6,000 pounds of produce since July, surpassing all expectations for its first year in operation.
Gleaning, the act of gathering crops and providing them to those in need, is one of the many sustainable and healthy efforts promoted by LiveWell Garfield County.
Volunteers distributed the collected produce to five LIFT-UP locations throughout the county and to the Garfield County Senior Nutrition Program.
In September, LIFT-UP Carbondale received a LiveWell Garfield County mini grant for a refrigeration unit to allow the location to store the excess produce it has been receiving from the project. LIFT-UP received a 90 percent increase in fruits and vegetables at its five countywide locations, thanks to community donations in support of the gleaning project.
With produce donations from Eagle Springs Organic through the gleaning project, Garfield County Senior Nutrition Program was able to feed 270 people and prepare 350 meals.
Eagle Springs Organic Owner, Ken Sack, comments, “We feel it’s a worthwhile project. Whenever we have excess inventory we like to donate to the community.”
“LIFT-UP is extremely grateful to all who have donated fresh fruits and vegetables through the LiveWell Garfield County program,” said Kimberly Loving, executive director for LIFT-UP. “It is such a blessing for the people who turn to our food pantries in times of need.”
Next year, LiveWell Garfield County plans to expand the gleaning project by reaching out to community organizations, groups and landowners to work together to glean from orchards and gardens. LiveWell is also planning to expand the program to include local schools as recipients of the produce, and develop additional partnerships with grocers and producers in the area.
“This year we planted 10-15 acres, next year we are planting 130 acres,” Sack said. “Hopefully we can donate even more then.”
People are encouraged to continue donating produce to LIFT-UP throughout the coming winter months. One of the ways individuals can help is by purchasing a Bountiful Basket. Purchase baskets online at http://www.bountifulbaskets.org, or pick them up at sites in Glenwood Springs, New Castle, Rifle and Parachute. To donate a basket, drop it off at any one of the five LIFT-UP locations.
For more information on LiveWell Garfield County, contact Dana Wood at 970-625-5200, ext. 8121, or email email@example.com. For LIFT-UP, contact Kimberly Loving, Executive Director, at 970-625-4496 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Former Carbondale trustee Katrina Byars said she wants to bring a voice of environmental sustainability to the commission, and believes her opponent has served long enough.