The staff of the NCSU Libraries is passionate about service and doing good in our community. That passion is visible in our work here on campus, but it extends beyond the work day and finds expression in our regular volunteer activities. Last week, that passion led a group of nineteen to a farm in rural Faison, NC.
This was a long way from our native habitat of the office, computer, service desk and bookstacks, so what on earth were we doing there? Gleaning–which Wikipedia helpfully defines as “collecting leftover crops from farmers’ fields after they have been commercially harvested or on fields where it is not economically profitable to harvest.”
The Libraries partnered with the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, which had a field full of collard greens donated by a local farmer, if they could get volunteers out to pick them. Lindsay Perry, the Food Shuttle’s Local Produce Coordinator, talked to volunteers about the big picture of gleaning, food waste, and the fight against hunger. Over 20% of children in the Triangle are “food insecure,” facing hunger on a regular basis, and the Food Shuttle is one of the most important local groups addressing the problem.
Lindsay then showed us all how to pick collard greens–snap the stems of the larger bottom leaves, avoid the yellow ones–and we got to work. With all those librarians, we managed to fill a big box truck with collard greens in three hours of methodical, hard work. Lindsay from the Food Shuttle summed the day up nicely by ensuring us that we were “outstanding in the field.”
All told, we gleaned 4235 pounds of collards, averaging 184 pounds per volunteer! Participating from the Libraries were: Josh Boyer, Brent Brafford, Anne Burke, Sarah Craig, Marian Fragola, David Goldsmith, Sara Hassell, Troy Hurteau, Beverly King, Emily Lynema, Charlie Morris, Mike Nutt, Genya O’Gara, Brian Pugsley, Jason Raitz, Adam Rogers, Dwain Teague, Erica Wisecup, and Doug Yopp. We were also joined by friends Desiree Dighton and Jesse Wisecup.
This volunteer event was organized by the Libraries’ Community Service Committee, which provides opportunities for library staff to engage in group community service activities throughout the year.
Photographs by Charlie Morris.