Nothing gets our team at Healthy Lincoln County more excited than when a farmer reaches out and says “hey, we got what we needed from our field harvest, please feel free to organize some gleaners to take the rest!” We got exactly that message from a property owner in Waldoboro early last week.
If you haven’t yet heard of the Lincoln County Gleaners, it’s a group of volunteers housed under Healthy Lincoln County that harvests produce across the county. In fact, there is a gleaning group in every county of Maine.
This group has harvested large amounts of produce through corn, apple, pumpkin (and now green bean) gleans in the community. They also do weekly small gleaning efforts at local farms as well.
Did I also mention that they process all of this awesome food too to be distributed in under a week to our community tables? They’re an impressive bunch, and I feel so fortunate to spend time with them all summer. For more context, gleaning helps combat hunger, reduces food waste, and connects local farms to their community in alternative ways. There is some great information about gleaning and how it helps Mainers on the Maine Gleaning Network’s website, listed at the bottom of this article.
Okay, back to the beans. When a farmer or property owner reaches out to have their site gleaned, it’s typically an all hands on deck approach to gather a group of volunteers within the week. We’ve all been there, but produce can “go” quickly, and we do our best to have great fruits and vegetable offerings. Our team was able to gather a group for Friday morning and looked forward to a great green bean harvest. Friday morning came, and our team mustered up the courage to get to the field, despite the continued (and appreciated) rain.
Our volunteers arrived with their rain gear, grabbed large bins, and got to work in the field. In just an hour and a half, the group had really come together collecting 112 pounds of green beans. It was a truly impressive feat, not only because of the amount collected in a short period of time, but because of the positive energy surrounding the field that day. Regardless of weather, nothing was going to stop the gleaners from having a good time.
At Healthy Lincoln County we often dub gleaning events with titles to remember just these moments: of new friends, gleans that go a tad off from the plan, and the community service that occurs. For this one, we’ll always remember our Great Bean Glean of 2022.
If you would like to get on our mailing list for gleaning opportunities, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are a farm that would like the Gleaners to collect excess produce to distribute into the community, please contact: email@example.com
For more information about the Maine Gleaning Network, please go to mainegleaningnetwork.org.