Monthly Archives: July 2014

Firstfruits Farm, bringing nature’s abundance to the people

GleanSLO has a unique opportunity to partner with a special farm. Typically GleanSLO gathers the excess, the unharvested, the not-so-pretty looking produce and donates it to our neighbors in need. Firstfruits Farm is different. It is a 100% volunteer run effort, operating on donations of everything from seed to compost. They grow perfect, organic produce FOR our neighbors in need. Firstfruits Farm donates the first pick, not the seconds. The farm is managed under the skilled hand of Darin Laity. Produce is grown and harvested by loving volunteers coming from various sources including Trinity Church, Grace Church and GleanSLO. Veggies are distributed at God’s Storehouse at Grace Church as well as several other food pantries.

 

14788227605_b54d6d683d_zWe asked Jon Medlock, pastor at Trinity Presbyterian Church to share his thoughts about the farm:

 

“Firstfruits Farm is a small but growing little farm, tucked away behind the SLO airport off of Davenport Creek Road. Started in 2013 by Trinity Presbyterian Church in SLO, Firstfruits Farm borrows its name from the bible.  In the Old Testament, God instructed his people to offer the firstfruits of their harvest as an act of thanksgiving and gratitude. In this spirit, Trinity wants to offer our best to the people of this city, and the farm is our effort make top quality, organically grown vegetables available to residents of our city who cannot easily afford healthy, fresh food. 

 Photo May 24, 10 59 30 AM

We do this for a number of reasons: We believe God created all people in his image, with dignity and worth. We believe that our bodies matter as much as our souls. We believe that access to healthy food is a matter of basic justice. We believe that God is graciously renewing this broken world, and that when we pursue healing and restoration, we are acting in faith that God will bring perfect healing and restoration one day. We also believe, along with Wendell Berry that “Christian agriculture [is] formed upon the understanding that it is sinful for people to misuse or destroy what they did not make. The Creation is a unique, irreplaceable gift, therefore to be used with humility, respect, and skill.” In short, we support and work with this farm because of our Christian convictions. 

 

photo-30

If you are interested in helping us serve alongside our neighbors in this way, we would love to have you join us. We harvest and do basic farm maintenance Wednesday and Saturday mornings at 9:00. In addition we have evening harvests on Fridays at 6:00. We are located off of just east of the intersection of Davenport Creek and Serpa Ranch Roads in SLO.”

Firstfruits Farm is a special place, an ideal volunteer opportunity for families. You’ll find a sandbox, picnic tables, wildflower and native bee garden and 2 acres of assorted organic veggies – cucumbers, bell peppers, chard, several varieties of kale, herbs, corn, tomatoes, melons, squash, eggplant, and a small orchard full of ancient varieties of fruit trees!

 

Meet Deborah Berger, Neighborhood Harvest Leader

GleanSLO trained a dozen Neighborhood Harvest Leaders earlier this year to lead small gleans in their neighborhoods. During these summer months, stone fruit is ripening early… and all at once… all over the county. We are averaging over 10 gleans/week! With minimal support from staff, Neighborhood Harvest Leaders take charge of the small gleans, gather the equipment they need, meet a handful of other volunteers and make sure everyone is safe and having fun while picking the extra fruit. They deliver the rescued produce to a nearby food pantry.

GleanSLO staff relies heavily on the dedication of these Neighborhood Harvest Leaders to get the job done! Here’s a word from Deborah Berger:

Beautiful!

1. Why are you interested in gleaning?

“Because I love to cook with fresh produce and eat lots of fresh fruit, and I am aware that not everybody can afford these. I don’t like any kind of wasting and I am happy to contribute to honoring nature’s abundance.”

2. How did you first make contact with GleanSLO?

“Right after I moved from Germany to the USA I wanted to do some volunteer work in order to meet people and be of use for the community, a friend told me about GleanSLO and I signed up on the website and became a gleaner.”

3. What is your favorite part about neighborhood harvests?

“To see different backyards, there’s so much beauty and so much hard work to be admired and people who donate are grateful to see their produce being used for a good cause.”

4. How does gleaning make you feel?

“I love the physical work and that it lasts only 2 or 3 hours, I love being connected to earth and plants and the other gleaners – there are so many interesting people among gleaners, and it’s wonderful to meet them again at another glean.”

5. Have you ever been at a distribution or seen the food you picked be received by a food pantry or hungry family? What was that like?

“I was delivering food to 2 different places, AIDS Support Network and Salvation Army, and it feels good to be appreciated and welcomed by those who distribute the food to hungry people.”

6. Anything else you’d like to share?

“I like the organisation of GleanSLO, the ease and the friendly connections with everybody I’ve met so far. There’s a lot of smiles and laughter to be seen and heard.”

If you would like to become a Neighborhood Harvest Leader, we’ll be training the next group of NHL’s on Saturday, August 23rd. Save the date and stay tuned for more details!