PLAINFIELD, NJ – Plainfield Police Local #19 treated residents to much more than a traditional barbecue at the annual Cookout with the Cops, a free community event. Families turned out to socialize with the members of the police department, enjoying food, music and games, with perfect weather at Hannah Atkins Playground.

Residents did not leave empty-handed. LocalShare partnered with Plainfield Police to distribute loads of fresh produce to the attendees at no cost. LocalShare, a part of the Foodshed Alliance, is a non-profit organization with a mission of reducing food insecurity by collecting excess fresh produce from local farms and delivering it to local food pantries, soup kitchens and any feeding programs. Produce ranged from fresh local corn, potatoes, zucchini, squash, name a few and also dozens of fresh eggs.

Christine Parauda, the LocalShare Coordinator, explained that through the use of volunteers, local farms are visited daily and food is distributed to several local organizations, including Shiloh Baptist Church’s Food Program and local senior centers.

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Parauda said that the excess produce is typically a result of an overabundance of a crop or after a harvest, or in some cases, not necessarily considered “physically saleable” at markets.

Due to the perishable nature of the produce, it has to be delivered daily. Fresh local blueberries were harvested just the day before and bagged for distribution.

According to its website, the process is called “'gleaning' and is the act of collecting leftover crops from farmers’ fields after they have been commercially harvested or on fields where it is not economically profitable to harvest."

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