During the COVID-19 pandemic, Douglas County agencies who provide food to those in need started to see a significant increase in visits to their food pantries and facilities. Just Food’s pantry supplies food to community members weekly, the Lawrence Community Shelter provides four meals daily, and community members pick up from Sunrise Project’s take-what-you-need porch which is always open, and provides community meals weekly. Some of the most requested items from the families served at Just Food are fresh foods including produce.
Guided by Objective 5.2 of the Douglas County Food System Plan: “Encourage Food Recovery Practices and Policies to Supply Safe Nourishing Food to Families in Need,” Douglas County started an on-farm gleaning program to recover edible, unsold produce to be delivered to area agencies that feed our community.
In 2020, a locally formed group called Community Organized Gleaners (COGs) recovered 2,644 pounds of food from four local farms with the help of more than 35 volunteers in just four months! Douglas County Sustainability multipled the benefit to the community by joining forces with COGs and After the Harvest, an established Kansas City gleaning organization.
Community Organized Gleaners
July - October 2020 Record
4 local farms
2,644 lbs recovered and delivered to local food pantries
Douglas County Sustainability and Partners
May - December 2021 Record
9 local farms and 2 gardens
17,656 lbs recovered and delivered to local food pantries
Food recovery requires the help of many hands! You can support food waste reduction and recovery of edible food while helping feed people in need by signing up to volunteer. We are actively signing up volunteers for the upcoming season to help glean fields, deliver food, and recruit gleaners. Individuals and groups are welcome. Sign up here!
If you are a farm interested in having your field gleaned, contact Food Waste Reduction Specialist Jamie Hofling at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This work is funded by a Community Compost and Food Waste Reduction Grant, awarded to Douglas County by the USDA Office of Urban Agriculture. This project is a collaboration of multiple community partners including, the Lawrence-Douglas County Sustainability Office, City of Lawrence, Douglas County Food Policy Council, After the Harvest, Community Organized Gleaners, Moon on the Meadow Farm, Just Food, Sunrise Project, Lawrence Community Shelter, and the KU Center for Environmental Policy.
Questions? Contact Food Waste Reduction Specialist Jamie Hofling at email@example.com.
Want to improve food waste management in your home? Try these 12 easy ideas!