On Friday, May 17th, library staff participated in what is becoming a regular seasonal event for us: volunteering with the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle’s Field Gleaning program. Gleaning is the act of picking farm produce that is left over after harvest or that would otherwise go to waste. IFFS then distributes the food as part of its mission to end hunger in our community.
Thirteen library staff left the comfortable air-conditioning of the libraries, packing two minivans on a journey to Faison, NC where we picked collard greens. Seasonal eaters will know that May is the end of the collard season, which is why this field was donated for gleaning. We avoided plants that were beginning to flower, focusing on tall, lush plants with greens at full maturity.
Scratch Bakery of Durham generously provided “gleaner fuel” in the form of donuts, coffee cake and tarts–just the thing to power a beginner through some farm labor.
Over the course of a few hours, our crew picked 3127 pounds of collard greens, filling a refrigerated IFFS truck to capacity. That’s over 200 pounds per person! This fresh, healthy food went out for distribution the following day at IFFS mobile markets, which serve people in need throughout the Triangle.
This marks the Libraries’ third gleaning (see last year’s), in what is becoming a tradition of volunteering with the Food Shuttle, who are newly our neighbors (their offices are on Blair Drive, very near the new Hunt Library). These library staff participated in the gleaning: Brent Brafford, Erin Campbell, Karen Ciccone, Sarah Craig, David Hiscoe, Nancy Kress, Cory Lown, Jason Raitz, Adam Rogers, Charles Samuels, Sydney Thompson, and Barbara Weinberg.
Photographs by Brent Brafford and Charles Samuels.