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Who Are We?
Harvest for Hope is a new program of Skagit County Community Action Agency, created to support our fight against hunger in Skagit County. Harvest for Hope is a gleaning program with the goal of increasing the supply of nutritious, fresh produce to Skagit County food banks and hot meal programs through gleaning from local farms and gardens. This program of Skagit County Community Action Agency was created in collaboration with Rotary First Harvest, a group which has already established several successful gleaning programs throughout Washington State.
What is gleaning?
Gleaning is an ancient practice dating back thousands of years. The practice of gleaning consists of collecting crops from a farmer's field that were missed during a commercial harvest, or harvesting crops that are not economically viable for a farmer to harvest. Gleaning can also include the sorting and collecting of food from "cull bins". These bins contain food that physically does not meet market standards (to small, to big, not the right color) but which is still perfectly edible. Many ancient cultures promoted gleaning as a way of supporting those in need in their communities, and it is a practice which still continues to this day.
Why is gleaning important?
In Skagit County today, about one out of every four residents depends on food banks and hot meal programs for food assistance. Often, our local food banks do not have enough fresh produce. Gleaning can help support food banks by increasing their access to much needed fresh fruits and vegetables. Donations of gleaned produce provide healthier and more nutritious food to food banks users, which greatly increases the quality of their diet.