Dear Rutland Area Farmers and Community Members,
As the sun rises earlier and sets later, with the trees in bloom and the spring flowers putting on their best show I’m becoming more and more anxious to get out into the fields and play in the dirt. When I started at RAFFL last summer in July RAFFL’s Glean Team was in full swing. I was able to jump right into in-field gleans alongside the former coordinator Julie and become acquainted with Rutland’s unique and abundant agricultural community. It took a couple of weeks but by August I felt confident in locating farms, harvesting their bounty, and being able to mindfully distribute this produce across the county of my new home.
Once October ended and the trees changed gleaning drastically slowed down. I was relieved to be able to have more time to myself outside of work and explore the great state of Vermont, while still gleaning sweet potatoes, winter squash and cabbage. However, as winter settled in and I began spending little to no time in the field and all of my time in the office I began to get antsy. All winter I daydreamed of being surrounded by corn fields, drowning in tomatoes, and the never ending supply of summer squash and zucchini.
Now that it’s May and Rutland’s Farmer’s Market has moved back outdoors its finally time for Glean Team to get back into the swing of things.
When I think about the summer of 2017 I’m can’t help but get excited. I’m so looking forward to partnering with community organization’s such as BROC’s Feed the Freezer and the Health Care Share hosted by the VFFC. Collaborating with these folks to lightly process surplus gleaned crops and distribute them to our community is a lofty goal but doable when partnering with organizations who are passionate and knowledgeable. I can’t wait to host gleans at our 24 participating farms and enjoy the beauty of this region’s landscape alongside our volunteers. Most of all I can’t wait for deliveries, where I get to visit with the recipients of gleaned produce and share my favorite recipes and learn from others how they use these gorgeous veggies to feed their families.
Gleaning is hard work but when working for an organization whose main focus is supporting community farmers while educating community members on the benefit of eating local; the days go by fast and I’m left feeling motivated to continue this important work.