The Maine Gleaning Network, a coalition of groups across the state of Maine working with local farms to collect surplus produce and distribute it to people experiencing food insecurity, announces Maine Gleaning Week, Oct. 9-16. This year, Maine Gleaning Week events will focus on community building and celebrating the vital role of volunteers in this effort.
Gleaners — volunteers committed to serving their communities — harvest surplus crops from farmers’ fields. Across Maine, gleaning organizations large and small partner with local farms to collect these crops and distribute them to food pantries, backpack programs, housing authorities, health clinics, and other organizations.
During Maine Gleaning Week, gleaning groups around Maine will host events to highlight the impact that gleaning has on communities. Gleaning not only increases access to fresh local food, it also builds community and breaks down the barriers of isolation and shame that are often a result of food insecurity.
Also during Maine Gleaning Week, volunteers will be celebrated. Hundreds of volunteers across the state generously give their time to ensure that their neighbors have access to healthy local food.
The Maine Gleaning Network comprises the following groups: Androscoggin Gleaners, Cumberland County Food Security Council Gleaning Initiative, Central Maine Gleaners, FoodCorps Maine, Healthy Acadia Gleaning Initiative (Hancock and Washington counties), Knox County Gleaners, Lincoln County Gleaners, Local Food Connection, Merrymeeting Gleaners, University of Maine Cooperative Extension Harvest for Hunger, Unity Barn Raisers, and Whole Crops. Partners to the Maine Gleaning Network include countless local farms; statewide networks such as Maine Network of Community Food Councils, Maine Farm to School Network; and members of the Food Recovery Coalition, in Portland.
To find local events or to find out how to volunteer with a local gleaning organization, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. To follow events during Maine Gleaning Week, go to mainegleaningnetwork.org. Follow Maine Gleaning Network on social media at facebook.com/mainegleaningnetwork, and on Instagram @MaineGleaningNetwork and #MaineGleaningWeek.