WELLS, VT – According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Vermont ranks as the sixth hungriest state in the nation. Most hunger relief sites handle primarily nonperishable items, which are easier to stock for distribution. But much of this food represents the worst of our country’s industrial food system — highly processed and packaged items with minimal nutritional benefits, laden with sugar, salts, and fats. Depending on these types of foods can lead to the health problems associated with an unbalanced diet.
As families inVermontstruggle with hunger and malnutrition, farms inVermontare producing some of the most delicious, high quality food in the nation. RAFFL is working with area farmers to make sure that everyone has access to the healthy, nutritious produce during this season of bounty.
This year marks the third season of RAFFL’s grow-a-row program. “Many of RAFFL’s programs focus on supporting the local farm economy,” explains Tara Kelly, RAFFL’s Executive Director. “Creating systems that expand access to and affordability of local farm products is an equally important aspect of our organization’s mission. Our area farmers are enthusiastic partners in this effort. People like Bill Clark and many, many others – farmers who are willing to grow a little extra and share their excess crops – really make this work.”
Last year RAFFL collected and redistributed nearly 18,000 pounds of fresh produce and cheese, meat and eggs to a total of 26 nonprofit organizations in the area. Organizing volunteers to help pick the fresh produce straight from the fields and to deliver it to the drop-off sites is part of the fun. “People are really enthusiastic about getting out to a farm and helping to bring in the harvest — knowing they are helping their neighbors who need some extra food to keep their families fed”, said Garland Mason, RAFFL’s Grow a Row coordinator.
Bill Clark, a vegetable farmer and sugar maker in Pawlet, is growing extra food on his own farm specifically for donation. This upcoming week a team from CVPS’ Green Team has volunteered their time and energy to pick corn fromClark’s farm. “This is the perfect project for the CV Greenteam, because it’s hands-on work that is fun whether you’re 4 or 84,” CVPS spokesman Steve Costello said. “And more importantly, the work will bring real benefits to folks in our local area, even as our volunteers enjoy a fun evening outside.”
We invite you to join us!
CVPS’s Green Team and RAFFL will be at Bill Clark’s farm at 4:30PM next Weds, August 17, 2011. Clark’s Farm is located at 1647 Tadmer Hill Road near the Wells/Pawlet border. There is not a sign at the top of the driveway – drive past the house to find the fields. Call 417-1528 if you need additional information or directions.
WHAT: “Pick some veggies for your neighbor” Grow a Row Event
WHEN: Wednesday, August 17 at 4:30pm
WHERE: Clark Farm at 1647 Tadmer Hill Road, Wells