The Onondaga County Health Department’s Creating Healthy Places to Live, Work, and Play in Onondaga County Initiative in partnership with the Central New York Regional Market Authority, the Food Bank of Central New York, and the Assumption Food Pantry at the Church of the Assumption have been working together since August to create a gleaning program (a food donation program). The gleaning program accepts produce donations (and other food products) directly from farmers who sell their produce at the CNY Regional Farmers Market. The donations are collected and distributed to the Assumption Food Pantry at the Church of the Assumption.
Kathy Mogle, Program Coordinator with the Onondaga County Health Department, explained “The gleaning program has been a tremendous success due to the collaboration of our partners and the generosity of over 25 farmers and vendors who donated produce. I would like to commend and thank each participant for their contributions”.
The overall goal of the gleaning program is to ensure that everyone has access to produce, regardless of where they live or their income level. Research suggests that eating fresh fruits and vegetables every day is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Research continues to show that many essential nutrients in fresh produce may protect you from cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease, and Type 2 diabetes. A healthful diet can also give you more energy, help reduce weight gain, and may even reduce the effects of aging.
Ben Vitale, Director of the Central New York Regional Market Authority, was pleased to help support and provide his expertise for this program. “I am extremely grateful that our vendors were so generous in their donations. This entire gleaning program was a huge success and produce donations consistently increased each week.” Vitale estimated that 200 bushels of summer produce has been donated during the past twelve weeks. Brother Nicholas Spano from the Assumption Food Pantry estimated that over 400 people consumed fresh produce as a direct result of this program and explained that it was rewarding to be a part of this project. Fresh produce was distributed to patrons to enjoy right away and some of the produce was frozen so that patrons could benefit throughout the upcoming seasons as well.
Ms. Mogle acknowledged the volunteers from the Health Department, the Franciscan Church of Assumption Food Pantry, and from the community who also participated in this event. The following farmers/vendors received certificates of appreciation for their contribution to the gleaning program:
Ben Vitale, Director of the Central New York Regional Farmers Market
Brother Nicholas Spano, Assumption Church Food Pantry
Ada’s Pastries Joe Nagari, Little Joe’s Gourmet Vegetables
Aguilera (Poncho) Krupka Farm
B & B Farms Lagoner Farms
Baldwinsville Farms Martins Pretzels
Barbagallo’s Farms Mueller Farms
Belle Terre Farms Paul Barbagallo
Bradtke Farms Pompey Gold Vineyards
Bradtke Greenhouse Schader Family Farm
Buttercup Cheese Slater Farm
CA Farms Wake Robin Farms
Daily Harvest Farm Wayside Farms
Darling Farms Wilcox Farms
Jack Edgerton Zellias Farms
For more information about the gleaning program, please contact Creating Healthy Places to Eat, Work, and Play in Onondaga County at 435-3280 or online at www.ongov.net/health/CreatingHealthyPlaces.