Last year the boys and I participated in several harvests with the local non-profit organization Salem Harvest. Salem Harvest is a wonderful organization that supports the local community in 2 major ways. First by donating farm fresh produce to the Marion-Polk Food Share and other local food banks and secondly by allowing the harvesters to keep half the produce they bring in from the fields/ orchards. During the 2010 harvest season we were blessed to harvest blueberries and red onions. We also helped sort harvested cauliflower that went to the Oregon Food Bank. From those 3 harvests filled the freezer and pantry with wonderful farm fresh produce that helped us through the winter. We actually have 3 gallons of frozen cauliflower and 1 container for cauliflower puree to add to mashed potatoes. I also have a small container for dehydrated red onions in the spice cabinet.
I’m not sure if every community has a program like this one, I know many communities have programs like gleaners where you are able to glean from a field the remaining produce. I have thought about looking into the local gleaners program here in Yamhill County but I really like the principal idea of Salem Harvest. I like that I am not only helping to feed my own family but other families in the area that are struggling to make ends meet every month. The couponing and deal watching helps but there are some days the money just isn’t there and families need help. This is one way I can teach my boys to give back to the community and that we have to work together to put food on our table.
I highly recommend working with a program like Salem Harvest if your community has one, and if it doesn’t and you are truly inspired look into starting one. It can be as simple as talking with local farmers or gardeners and asking them if you can pick the extra to donate to the local food bank. The harvest is great but the laborers are few.