LUSH Valley’s Farm Gleaning project provides volunteer labour on the farm when I need it most in exchange for the produce that I can’t sell, says Mariette Sluyter of Whitaker Farm and Merville Organics, “We love knowing that the produce is going to feed people that otherwise may not have access to high quality local produce and it’s great to connect with those who also care about food waste in our community. The whole experience is enriching to so many people, including us as farmers”

This is the first year of LUSH Valley’s Farm Gleaning Program.  We are utilizing our existing organizational networks to recruit volunteers and farm partners to work together.  Local farmers are at the center of this work and we value these relationships highly and do our best to provide on-farm labour when needed in exchange for excess produce.  We call our approach farm-centric.

The program has already supplied over 1000lbs of diverse and high quality produce: from salad greens, blueberries, cucumbers to tomatoes and everything in between to individuals and families in our community that might otherwise go without.

Like the Fruit Tree Program, the Farm Gleaning Project is volunteer run, so we need a lot of hands to make light work of all of the harvesting.  Last year we had over 200 volunteers helping us. This year with the added Farm Gleaning program we are looking for even more volunteer support.

One volunteer, Sheila Scully, had this to say about helping with the project I abhor wastefulness, especially when it comes to food. It is important for us to honour both the tremendous human effort and the natural resources required to produce food and to support local production here in the Comox Valley.  I love tapping into the wealth of knowledge of the local farmers and gardeners and love to share in the harvest”

LUSH Valley works with over 15 community and social services groups including; Komoks First Nation, CV Transition Society, CV Food Bank, BC Housing, and Schools across SD71 who receive quality produce from the project.

“The impact of this program is amazing”, says Bev Miller, Tenants Support Worker with BC Housing, “our tenants have access to quality food and it has changed the social dynamic of the community.  I see people chatting over the food, talking about recipes and interacting in a whole new way”.

Please consider joining LUSH and be a part of this amazing project. If you are interested in volunteering to harvest or signing up your tree or farm for a free gleaning service, please sign up on our new website: http://www.lushvalley.org or contact James at fruit@lushvalley.org   

Interested Media are also welcome to join us on an upcoming farm glean.  

LUSH Valley recognizes the support of: VIHA Community Wellness Grant, Comox Valley Community Foundation, BC Gaming, City of Courtenay and Peninsula Coop for their support of our 2018 gleaning season.  

Find out more about LUSH Valley Food Action Society and our work visit our new website at: www.lushvalley.org  Or on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram @lushvalleyfood

Maurita Prato

Executive Director, LUSH Valley Food Action Society