Opinion

Grow a row and make a difference | Neighbors Helping Neighbors

By MARY NADER
Columnist

For thousands of years, gleaning has been practiced all over the world. It is the ancient practice of collecting the remaining crops from the fields after they have been harvested.

Throughout the ages, gleaning was a way that people would have enough fruits and vegetables to survive — many countries even required landowners to provide access to those needing the food.

Gleaning continues today, often formalized into a program that directs gleaned items to neighborhood food banks. Thanks to the vision and determination of several local volunteers, Fishline is a beneficiary of the new Kitsap Harvest Gleaning Project.  Allie Barbosa and Julia Zander are its founders, and they hope the program will help fight hunger, reduce waste and build community and community sustainability.

By developing a model that includes creation of community or giving gardens, encourages residents to “Plant a Row” for local food banks, along with a method to locate and glean from fields, orchards and vineyards, life-giving food can find a way to the tables of hungry residents throughout Kitsap County. Future plans include planting new orchards, building gardens and matching gardeners with land owners willing to offer their space to charitable growers.

Gardening classes are planned that will help low-income residents either begin their own or have access to community gardens.

Fishline’s cooking, canning and nutrition classes, in development for the new location, will utilize these precious donations while they are available during harvest season. Fishline also wants to build raised gardens at the new building as well as investigate the possibility of installing aquaponics fish- and plant- growing systems.

Allie and Julia are excited about these possibilities and exude the passion that comes from a great commitment to community building and community health. You can join her and her team to help this project become a great success. Here’s how:

Help glean: Become a volunteer harvester or harvest leader.

Register your fruit tree or berry patch: Volunteer gleaners will harvest when fruit is ready to be picked.

Tree scout: Be a volunteer tree scout and locate and register fruit trees.

Plant a row: Plant one row alongside your veggies and donate fresh-picked produce to your local food bank.

Plant a Giving Garden: Dedicate a garden at your church, p-patch or other location to fight hunger.

Loan your land: Lend your property to others who will commit to give a large portion to help fight hunger in our community, usually for one year. Two local farmers need land now to get started.

Farmers Market gleans: Pick up scheduled gleaned produce from farmers at local markets.

Teach: Share your gardening, cooking and/or canning talents with others in our community.

The most commonly-heard feedback from our clients is their appreciation of the choices of fresh food that Fishline provides.  Some have said they have never been able to afford to eat as healthy as they do now. Community partners are making that possible, including our local grocery stores, the Kitsap County Master Gardeners/Poulsbo Parks and Rec Youth Garden and P-Patch at Raab Park, and Kitsap Fire and Rescue, the members of which grow in raised beds behind the firehouse and donate the harvest to Fishline clients. Many Poulsbo Farmers Market members also donate whatever is remaining after their Saturday market to Fishline.

With this help, along with ideas like those presented by Kitsap Harvest, we can assure a future where access to healthy, homegrown food is available to all.

— Mary Nader is executive director of North Kitsap Fishline. Contact her at director@nkfishline.org.


CONTACTS
You can contact Kitsap Harvest by visiting www.kitsapharvest.org. The website should be up soon.

You can contact North Kitsap Fishline by visiting www.nkfishline.org or calling 360-779-5190. Donations will be accepted by Fishline on behalf of Kitsap Harvest.

 

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