Food Gleaning Project, East Texas Community Food Coalition, Tyler
Carmen Sosa, Rose City Farmers Market Director, and Debra Marshall with the Texas Hunger Initiative – Tyler Regional Office, developed a community partnership to collect donated produce from area farmers for distribution at summer meal program sites.
Ms. Sosa worked with the farmers she knew and found they were willing to donate the produce they did not sell at the farmers market to families who could use it. Ms. Marshall helped identify summer meal program sites, knowing the locations were the perfect distribution points for the donated fruits and vegetables. Records of how much produce was collected from farmers and given to families quickly illustrated the initiative’s success.
Families appreciated the produce and children were excited to try new fruits and vegetables and learn about healthy eating habits. At the same time, farmers were happy to see their produce not going to waste. At the end of the summer initiative, 100 percent of participating farmers responded that they did not want to be paid for the donated produce items.
Pairing this produce reclamation project with the summer meals program offered a perfect opportunity to connect families participating in the summer meals program with local, fresh fruits and vegetables.