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Local Gleaning Group Provides Service Opportunities, Works To Decrease Food Insecurity

Brynne Peak

I walked into a quaint backyard where there were many gleaners picking apples from a tree. Since this organization is only a year old, many are not aware of the term gleaning. I spoke with Charles Miller, the director of Cache Valley Gleaning, and some volunteers to learn more about this act of service and its impact.

“In the modern context, what it more often means is gathering up unused fruit and then giving it to people who could actually use it,” Miller said. “For us we give to the Cache Valley Food Pantry primarily. So what we do is take excess fruit from private tree owners or vegetable owners and give that to the food pantry or other entities that can use it.”

While focusing on their three fold mission, they also have a desire to create positive and uplifting interactions between the university and the community by giving back to one another during these opportunities of service.

“It's important because it's accomplishing a three-fold mission,” Miller said. “One, it is reducing food waste by taking all this fruit that otherwise just falls off and go to the birds. It is reducing food insecurity and then it is also diversifying diets. Because when you think of food pantries usually think of you know cans of beans or tuna, whereas this is getting people actual fresh fruit and fresh produce.”

There were volunteers from all over Logan, meaning anyone and everyone is able to get involved. Volunteer McKenna de Bruin, who is studying conservation ecology, loves the impact it has on those in need. 

“I'm really interested in fighting food waste and the more I do this, the more I'm like ‘wow, there's literally so many trees that fruit gets wasted every year and especially with coronavirus happening,’” she said. “Getting people fresh produce is really important.”

Gleaning is an easy and fun way to give back to the community. And if you're looking for a date idea, the gleaning team will be organizing date nights in the near future. To get involved head over to Cache Gleaning on Instagram for more details.