In it’s second year, a new program at Central Lakes College is putting needed fresh produce into the hands of community members.
It’s called the Gleaning Program. Here’s how it works: The CLC Ag & Energy Center produces many different crops and produce, all while teaching students and leading research projects. That fresh produce is then harvested and given to local community organizations in need. In 2017 alone, 17,495 pounds of food was donated.
“The Gleaning Program demonstrates a wise use of resources as we are not adding to our operational costs and supporting our communities in more efficient manner,” said Keith Olander, Dean of Agricultural Studies and Director of CLC Ag & Energy Center. “It has allowed for even more student integration into research and demonstration operations.”
In addition to the Ag & Energy Center, produce comes from the Living Legacy Gardens as well. It includes: apples, blueberries, corn, garden produce, kidney beans, potatoes, pumpkins and raspberries.
Among many community partners, CLC has partnered with Lakewood Health and SPROUT to provide produce for a program called Choose Health, a physician-prescribed CSA that provides families with a bi-monthly box of produce.
Food from the CLC farm has also been utilized in the college’s food service and in the student food shelf. CLC’s Student Senate has been involved with harvesting and distribution of various produce.
Other partners involved in the gleaning program include: Community Corrections Youth, Kinship, Staples Alliance Church (Railroad Days), Staples Area Food Shelf, Staples-Motley FFA, Staples-Motley School District, Staples Lions, as well as community members.
A look at the 2017 numbers:
CLC Food Service/Cast Iron Grill: 3,298 pounds
CLC Student Senate/Student Food Shelf: 3,400 pounds
Community members: 5,864
Kinship Partners: 250 pounds
FFA: 480 pounds
Staples Alliance Church (Railroad Days): 840
Staples Area Food Shelf: 1,295
Staples-Motley School District: 144
Total: 17,495 pounds