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Growing and Gleaning and Giving, Oh My!

A 2011 Update on Community Harvest

Our Community Harvest Program is bringing together local farmers and volunteers who work collectively to increase the distribution of fresh produce to critical food programs across the Ottawa Region. Now in its second harvest season, Community Harvest and the Ottawa Food Bank is celebrating all the hard work of volunteers who have enabled our farm-based growing projects and gleaning events. The Ottawa Food Bank  also acknowledges our generous farm partners that have donated both crops and land this year, namely, Foster Family Farm, Knotty Bottoms Farm, Ovens Berry Farm, Proulx Sugarbush and Berry Farm, Needham’s Market Garden, Pine Hill Orchards, John Krapiec and Roots and Shoots Farm.

2011 Community Harvest Produce Yield to date

Growing Projects
The Community Harvest program has broken new ground this year with an increase in land under cultivation;  an expansion of our pilot growing site at Roots and Shoots Farm to one acre as well as a new half-acre site at Knotty Bottoms Farm.  Additionally, the Junior High class of the Ottawa Montessori School created a “gleaning garden” at Roots and Shoots this year which has yielded several hundred pounds of produce for the Ottawa Food Bank and has provided a great opportunity to build horticultural skills while increasing awareness about community hunger in Ottawa.

Produce Gleaning
Arguably the most critical component of the Community Harvest program is gleaning.  Gleaning refers to the age-old practice of collecting crops that, while still in good condition, remain in the field following a farmer’s commercial harvest.  In our experience, farmers tend to donate excess crops in their fields that would otherwise go unharvested.  Our farm partners often express a great sense of satisfaction when they know that this produce will serve a public need.

Volunteer Engagement
Our growing projects couldn’t happen without the tireless support of our volunteers. We have been very fortunate again this year to receive the support of a great number of volunteer supporters. In addition to over 130 individual volunteers who were engaged, we have also received tremendous support from corporate, school and faith based groups such as IBM, Adobe, Halsall, Ottawa Montessori School, Connaught Public School and congregation members of Emmanuel United Church respectively.

Upcoming Events:

  • Knotty Bottoms Potato Harvest – Oct 1st
  • Adobe – harvesting  at Roots and Shoots – Oct 5th
  • Ottawa Montessori Students – harvesting  at Roots and Shoots – Oct 7th
  • RBC Buy Local Share Local Day – Ottawa Farmers’ Market – Oct 9th
  • Connaught Public School – harvesting  at Roots and Shoots – Oct 11th
  • Industry Canada – harvesting  at Roots and Shoots – Oct 12th
  • IBM Centennial Celebration – Harvesting  at Roots and Shoots – Oct 13th

Community Harvest Photos:

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