In our family, it has become a yearly tradition for me to take my oldest son, Wyatt on a “glean” to help out our local FoodBank and Backyard Bounty programs. When we first became ‘gleaners” several years ago, I didn’t know what that word even meant, but knew that we wanted to start a family tradition of volunteering around the holidays. I signed up online, received an address of a local ranch and we showed up one Saturday morning ready to role up our sleeves (actually, wear long sleeves and keep them rolled down…) and get to work. Wyatt is now 8 and this will be his 3rd year helping out and this year our youngest, Crosby who is 5 will join us too!
What does the Backyard Bounty program and “gleaning” really mean? It is a volunteer-powered program of the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County. Since 2007, Foodbank volunteers have gleaned over 1.2 million pounds of produce from backyards, gardens, farms, and orchards in the Santa Barbara area. This fresh, nutritious produce includes oranges, lemons, limes, tangerines, figs, avocados, persimmons, and guavas has been distributed to those in need throughout Santa Barbara County! Plus as an added bonus, if the peel tears, you get to eat all the mandarins you want! This part makes it really fun for the kids and so does seeing how much work it takes to fill a crate!
How can you help? Several ways!
If you have less than 5 fruit trees in your yard that you would like to donate and can manage harvesting the fruit on your own, we would love to receive your donation. Simply pick the fruit when it’s ripe and bring it down to one of our warehouses. Be sure to stop by the office when you come to receive a tax receipt for your donation. If you are able to pick the fruit but do not have supplies or cannot deliver it to our warehouse, please give us a call at (805) 729-8309 or e-mail us about your crop and location.
|Coordinate a harvest:
If you are unable to harvest your own fruit, we may be able to help. Please note that due to high demand, Backyard Bounty may not be able to schedule a harvest, and priority will be given to properties with the most fruit. Please give us a call at (805) 729-8309 or e-mail us about your crop and location. E-mails should include your name, address, number of trees, type of crop and estimated time of ripeness. Whether you need us to make an appointment with you or are alright with us dropping by whenever we’re available, we’ll try and find the best way to get your excess produce into the hands of those in need!
Volunteer: (What we do!) Gleaning with Backyard Bounty is fun outdoor volunteer experience that helps reduce food waste in our community and let’s your learn about growing, harvesting and transporting local produce. Most events are family-friendly and a great way to spend time outside doing great work for your community! Click here to see what is coming up on the calendar!
We just signed up for the glean on Saturday December 1st from 9-12:00pm. I suggest wearing a hat, long sleeves, sunscreen, bring your own shears if you have them and perhaps a little folding chair. Let me know if you sign up too and we can enjoy a morning spent outside helping our community. We hope to see you out there!