Tahoe-Truckee volunteers partner to harvest 563 pounds of food for locals | SierraSun.com

Tahoe-Truckee volunteers partner to harvest 563 pounds of food for locals

Special to the Sun
Tahoe Food Hub volunteers take a break during a training day this spring.
Courtesy photo |

TAHOE-TRUCKEE, Calif. — Tahoe Food Hub hosted its first “gleaning” event on Monday, July 20.

Gleaning is when a team of volunteers harvests vegetables that would otherwise go to waste in the field, and donate that perfectly good food to local food banks and hunger-relief agencies.

“This could be North Lake Tahoe’s first organized gleaning event, and our organization is thrilled to provide this opportunity,” remarks Susie Sutphin, Tahoe Food Hub Executive Director. “In bringing equity back into the food system, Tahoe Food Hub not only wants to get the farmer a fair price but equal access to the food we source.”

The gleaning event was coordinated among local nonprofits, individuals and region farms. Former Truckee Elementary PTO President Alex Herrera led the charge as volunteer coordinator.

Tahoe Food Hub put the word out to all their farms, asking they alert the nonprofit when they had excess crops that would get tilled under or fed to the pigs if not harvested.

Local Girl Scout Troop No. 1310 heard about the project and wanted to donate money to buy supplies such as harvest buckets, storage bins, gloves, and clippers.

Project MANA is a close partner of Tahoe Food Hub and was the natural destination for the donated produce.

On Friday the 17th, Mountain Bounty Farm in Nevada City contacted Tahoe Food Hub for a gleaning on July 20.

“… We had five adults and four teens organized for the … gleaning. It was a really impressive response with just a few days notice,” said Herrera.

In a 2.5-hour span, volunteers harvested 280 pounds of Chioggia beets, 255 pounds of sweet corn, 20 pounds of cherry tomatoes and 8 pounds of basil.

The volunteer team brought the produce back to the hub’s Farm Shop at the bottom of Alpine Meadows Road, where it was stored overnight and delivered the next day to the Project MANA warehouse in Incline Village for its four distribution sites Monday through Thursday of each week.

“To get local, fresh, sustainably grown food is a real treat,” commented Brian Hunt, Project MANA Food Supply Manager. “When we get local food from the food hub, we like to share the story with our community members so they too can be better connected to where their food comes from.”

Farms are headed into peak season, and Tahoe Food Hub is anticipating more gleaning events. If you are interested in gleaning, contact Sutphin at susie@tahoefoodhub.org or 530-562-7150.

Gleaning does take some light physical labor, but it is great exercise and fun for the whole family (children are welcome, but the hub prefers a 1:1 adult to children ratio).

Gleanings can be any day of the week and take 4-5 hours.

Big thanks to the first gleaning team: Alex Herrera, Nancy Herrera, Talia Herrera, Mia Herrera, Audrey Wiedemaier, Valerie Simpson, Ellie Simpson, Karen Witt and Addison Wingate.

Also, thanks to the folks at Mountain Bounty Farm (off Highway 49 between North San Juan and Nevada City) for putting out the call and welcoming Tahoe Food Hub to glean.

Finally, an extra special thanks to Truckee’s Girl Scout Troop 1310, including Mia Herrera, Addison Wingate and troop-leader Karen Witt, who generously donated all of the tools and storage pails and bins to get us started.

This article was submitted by Tahoe Food Hub, a nonprofit working to restore local, food distribution by building a regional food system for North Lake Tahoe. Visit tahoefoodhub.org to learn more.