Middlesex County Master Gardeners donated their time to assist with a gleaning event held at Giamarese Farms in East Brunswick on Sept. 19. This gleaning, or harvest of unsold produce, was distributed through Farmers Against Hunger, a program administered by the New Jersey Agricultural Society.
Master Gardeners took part in this event to help recognize the recently instated New Jersey Gleaning Week. In January 2016, New Jersey passed three bills into law for the purposes of educating the public on gleaning as a method of reducing food insecurity and food waste. In order to raise awareness and highlight volunteer opportunities, New Jersey created the first New Jersey Gleaning Week and Farmers Against Hunger Day.
“The Master Gardeners are one of Middlesex County’s most dedicated volunteer groups, and I applaud their participation in Gleaning Week.,” said Middlesex County Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios. “I hope all County residents will continue to fight against hunger.”
“Middlesex County recognizes the need for all homes to receive fresh, healthy foods,” said Freeholder Kenneth Armwood, Chair of the Business Development and Education Committee. “Projects like gleaning enable food to get to those who need it most and ensure that no food is wasted.”
Since its inception in 1996, the New Jersey Agricultural Society’s Farmers Against Hunger program has collected and distributed nearly 15 million pounds of fresh produce at no cost to recipients who are primarily the working poor, families with young children and the elderly.