Ben Jankowski is a superstar gleaner. We’ve been graced with his presence during his final month before heading off to college at UMass Amherst, where he will be double majoring in resource economics and sustainable food & farming. How’s that for an 18-year-old!?
During the month of August, Ben is working as an intern gleaning coordinator at BAG. He assists Matt and Dylan out in the fields by helping to lead volunteers, lifting heavy boxes, and doing produce deliveries.
Ben has been an avid gardener since he was young. He takes inspiration from his father who, at age seven, planted vegetables outside of his trailer home to feed to his family and to sell. Ben says, “I believe that that is where agriculture became part of my blood.”
Ben was introduced to the concept of gleaning a few years ago when he viewed the film The Gleaners & I (Les glaneurs et la glaneuse) in French class. He was intrigued by the idea, so he searched for gleaning organizations in Massachusetts and came across BAG.
With the help of Duck, Matt, Dylan, and Oakes, Ben formed a gleaning group at his high school. Although Ben thinks that the gleaning program won’t take off at his school, Ben learned a lot from developing the program. He went on several gleaning trips, interacted with farmers, and worked closely with the Mansfield Food Pantry in his hometown.
Ben plans to continue gleaning, and he hopes to build on his experience in farming and community service when he heads off to school. We are confident that Ben will move on to do great, great things throughout his years at college and beyond. Thank you, Ben, and good luck!