Boston Area Gleaners
Boston Area Gleaners (BAG) works closely with local farms and volunteer laborers (gleaners) to provide hunger-relief programs across Massachusetts with access to fresh, high-quality produce that would otherwise be plowed under. BAG expects to rescue and distribute more than 600,000 pounds of fresh food over the next 90 days and is supporting efforts to replicate its model nationally.
BAG reports that they have developed a new partnership with Healthy Waltham – a local non-profit whose mission is to promote collaborative approaches to improving the health and wellness of underserved and low-income populations through programs that increase access to healthy foods, provide nutrition education, and create opportunities for physical activity. Healthy Waltham has been organizing pop-up food distribution sites in Waltham. Boston Area Gleaners has been working with Healthy Waltham to provide both cold storage and trucking support. A recent food distribution served more than 700 families.
BAG leveraged its existing infrastructure to secure a contract with the USDA to purchase produce from farms (reducing farm-level waste) and distribute family-sized boxes of mixed vegetables to its distribution partners.
BAG have also been working with a new produce supplier to purchase produce for its pantries and secured a donation of fruit that would have otherwise been wasted, which helped educate the new vendor on food waste reduction options besides composting.