On October 24th, 2011, BAG spent this year’s Food Day gleaning with Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick at the Food Project in Lincoln Massachusetts. In honor of the event, BAG invited our Board of Directors, their families, our interns, and a devoted volunteer Todd Kaplan, to come join as we showed Governor Patrick a day in the life of a gleaner.
The day mirrored a typical volunteer event, except of course, for the cameras and press conference. Governor Patrick spent the morning getting his hands dirty gleaning carrots with the Director of Agriculture at The Food Project, Tim Laird, and BAG’s Executive Director, Laurie “Duck” Caldwell. The Governor helped BAG to glean 5.5 bushels of carrots, while Food Project staff and BAG’s Board of Directors gleaned 10 bushels of collards and 9 bushels of kale, all of which was delivered to Food For Free for distribution the following day.
Being one of the most organized gleaning networks in the state, BAG was asked to work with the Department of Agriculture organizing this event in the weeks preceding Food Day. Although a celebration for the renewed national holiday, Governor Patrick’s visit also marked the launch of a new state-wide initiative, the Massachussetts Gleaning Network. This gleaning network is hopefully the beginning of more volunteer groups forming the successful kinds of relationships with farmers that BAG is proud to have established. Even though gleaning is mostly a spur of the moment opportunity, BAG can provide a model and inspiration for these groups.
For those aware of the recent rising interest in food production, food equity, and the food system in general, it is not surprising that Food Day has started up again. Through BAG’s participation in events such as the Boston Local Food Festival and Harvard Urban Agriculture Fair, we have found that there is a growing interest in where our food comes from, how it is produced, and who has access to it. Many of the people we speak to at these events echo a desire to reconnect with their food, and BAG is proud to have given Governor Patrick that opportunity.
Would you like that opportunity? Think you’d enjoy getting your hands dirty and harvesting local food for hunger relief? Check out our volunteer page for how you can get involved and glean just like the Governor!
Read more about the event at the Food Project's blog here or in the Governor's press release.
Watch a video of the event courtesy of Governor Patrick's website.