Nearly 50 Columneetza students joined the Cariboo Chilcotin Conversation Society (CCCS) to celebrate the fall harvest by reducing food waste and helping others who may not have access to fresh produce.
The Grade 7 students and volunteers took part in a gleaning day Tuesday at the Soda Creek Sweet Corn U-Pick that is now closed for the season.
“It was a really great day with the students,” CCCS coordinator, Vanessa Moberg said.
“Last year we actually collected about 2,000 pounds of potatoes, but potatoes were all we were able to get. This year we estimate again 2,000 pounds of food, but it was really amazing variety. We had about 500 pounds of potatoes, 500 pounds of beets, we had squash, carrots, zucchini, cabbage, chard, kale, even some herbs, and melons, so we’re very thankful to Linda and Steven Kaufman of Soda Creek Sweet Corn who closed a little early and invited us out .”
While the produce that can be stored will be stored at a root cellar that the CCCS rents from the Potato House, Moberg says that most of it will be distributed to local community organizations that help others including the Salvation Army, St. Vincent De Paul Society, and Pregnancy Outreach.
“We actually just happened to get a call before this day from the Salvation Army,” Moberg said.
“They’re looking to plan their Thanksgiving dinner coming up and they asked us for as much fresh produce we can give them, and they also have a share shelf that they use to help people as well. We’ve been really fortunate to be able to support these organizations and it’s a really great community partnership.”
Because so many groups were involved in this year’s gleaning day, Moberg adds that she believes they were able to connect the students with their food source.
“Many of us are not familiar where our food really comes from so we were able to educate them and they were able to help us,” she said.
“At the same time we had the farms involved, their neighbors’ Puddle Produce, and the Williams Lake and District Credit Union allowed two of their employees to come out for the day and help us glean. Every year that this happens we’re so pleased to be part of something so positive.”