Target: Healthy Acadia Gleaning Coordinator, Hannah Semler
Goal: Applaud initiative to bring leftover produce harvest to hungry locals
The nonprofit group Healthy Acadia has been changing lives by fostering programs that encourage community members in Downeast Acadia, Maine to help each other. The gleaning initiative is one of the organization’s many community empowerment projects, which include promoting healthy activities and meals in and out of school for kids, as well as expanding access to healthful food for the elderly and people suffering from poverty or disabilities. Gleaning, a practice also known as food waste recovery, is the collection of leftover food that might end up getting thrown in the trash or rotting on the branch.
Gleaning Coordinator Hannah Semler organizes gleaning events around Hancock County where she leads volunteers in collecting produce from small farms, orchards, and farmers’ markets that would go to waste because many small farmers simply don’t have enough hours in the day to harvest and sell every last bit of produce. They then take the leftover produce to food pantries and the Magic Food Bus, a Healthy Peninsula project that delivers food to schools and apartment complexes for the elderly. In a time where 15 percent of Americans don’t have access to the nutrition they need and around 40 percent of our crops go unharvested, initiatives like these that connect available food with hungry people are more important than ever.
The benefactors of Healthy Acadia’s gleaning initiative, like Maine food pantry Tree of Life, know that the project solves a fundamental problem perpetuating the hunger crisis. Rick Traub, Tree of Life’s President, told NBC News reporter Seth Freed Wessler, “The problem of hunger in the U.S. has very little to do with a scarcity of food. There’s far more food available around here than people to eat it. The problem is really about access.”
By signing this petition, you are applauding the gleaning initiative and coordinator Hannah Semler on the project’s strong start and encouraging them to keep up the momentum for future growth.
Dear Ms. Hannah Semler,
With so many Americans meeting the criteria for food insecurity, projects like the gleaning initiative of Healthy Acadia are more important than ever. Connecting leftover food with hungry locals is a brilliantly simple concept that has the potential to solve two crises currently facing the United States: hunger and food waste. Your initiative provides a positive example to other communities that might be worried about the risks of a gleaning project or burdened by red tape.
Thank you for dedicating your time to the conceptualization, organization, and execution of Healthy Acadia’s gleaning initiative, and congratulations on your initiative’s strong start. I hope you continue to set an example for inclusive, cooperative communities everywhere.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: thebittenword.com via Flickr