Growers with good food but no market are encouraged to donate produce to food banks throughout the state as part of the “Glean NY” initiative.
Farmers will be reimbursed for the cost of harvesting donated produce, a benefit made possible by a donation from The Walmart Foundation to the Food Bank Association of New York State.
“While we don’t have a statistic for how much food is not harvested each year, we know the amount varies with each year’s weather and marketing conditions,” said Rebecca Schuelke Staehr, a Cayuga County farmer and a gleaning coordinator with Cornell University. “Just a small percentage of the produce grown in New York could equal tens of thousands of pounds of nutritious food.”
Glean NY is a collaboration among the state’s farmers, the Food Bank Association of New York State, New York Farm Bureau and Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
Brothers Bruce, Mark and Andy Reeves, of Lysander's Reeves Farm, raise vegetables and berries on more than 1,000 acres of farmland. Over the years, the Reeves family has donated produce to the Food Bank of Central New York.
“The food bank has been a valuable partner in food distribution in the state,” Brian Reeves said. “We are glad to help feed not only the affluent customer who obviously helps our bottom line, but all area citizens. A healthy citizenry begins with good nutrition and fresh vegetables. Without the help of the Food Bank, many of our neediest citizens may go without.”
All varieties of produce in quantities large and small are welcome and do not have to be washed or graded. In some instances, food banks can supply field crates, and pickup food at the farm with refrigerated trucks. To arrange pickup of donations call the Food Bank Association of New York at (518) 433-4505.
Donations may be tax deductible.