I want to thank Times Argus Editor Steve Pappas for writing “Food for thought,” an editorial published in the May 15 edition of this newspaper. Pappas discussed hunger in Vermont and the nation — especially as it affects our youth.
I’m also writing to highlight Community Harvest of Central Vermont, a group that is working to combat hunger in our region. This grass-roots nonprofit works with local farmers to glean, store and deliver fresh fruits and vegetables. There is a lot of food waste in agriculture, even when the food is grown locally: A 2016 study showed that 14.3 million pounds of vegetables and berries grown on Vermont farms go uneaten each year, with about 1 million pounds of that grown here in Washington County alone.
CHCV delivers what they gather to organizations that help food insecure individuals in our communities, including food shelves, senior meal programs, after-school and early childhood programs, schools with many free meal recipients, and community lunch programs. The Montpelier Food Pantry, for example, received more than 7,000 pounds of nutritious food from CHCV last year. Recipient partner sites receive this food on a weekly basis during the gleaning season. All of the gleaning is performed by volunteers, and a significant portion of CHCV’s funding is from local and regional foundations, businesses, and donations from groups and individuals.
I encourage you to get involved with CHCV or any other gleaning organization. It’s incredibly rewarding and fun to get your hands dirty.
Scott Hess is board president of Community Harvest of Central Vermont. He lives in East Montpelier.