Five new Board Members were elected to the Board of Directors, and members were able to vote on various parts of the bylaws, led by interim President Myriel Eykamp. After the official business was over we heard from Duck about the success of the 2011 season. BAG harvested almost 44,000lbs. of fresh local produce this year, for a total of approximately 250,000 servings of fruits and veggies. All of this went to our partner organizations, the largest of which is Food for Free. Next year we plan to increase this number by 20%, and if possible keep costs for harvesting and transportation to under $1 per pound.
Agricultural Commissioner Scott Soares was our featured speaker, and he spoke about many of the exciting projects going on around Massachusetts. One fact I found especially interesting was that Mass is ranked #7 for most farmer's markets in the nation, and this is completing with much larger and more populated states! The EBT/SNAP program has also expanded significantly in the last few years, and I believe Commissioner Soares said that 90 markets now accept EBT/SNAP, significantly expanding access to healthy food.
The Mass Gleaning Network is also underway, led by Rose Arruda from the Dept. of Ag. BAG has been involved with this venture from the start and is excited to mentor and join with other gleaning operations statewide, and Commissioner Soares spoke about his high hopes for the program.
After the speakers and a Q&A with Commissioner Soares, everyone was able to mingle and look at photos from years past, as well as enjoy the delicious goodies that Gleaners had brought to share. Overall it was a great meeting, I was able to catch up with people I hadn't seen since the season ended, and meet some other Gleaners I hope to see in the field this summer!