IV Gleaning Project
The IV Gleaning Project is a collaboration of community members working towards creating a sustainable food harvesting network in which public & private food resources are identified and the surplus connected with people in need. To help facilitate this project, the IV Gleaning Coordinator organizes volunteer work parties to harvest food that would otherwise go to waste. Freshly picked fruit, nuts, and vegetables are gathered and the distributed to volunteers, land owners, and food banks.
Our long term vision is encouraging stewardship of the land by teaching tree care and food preservation methods in hands-on workshops. By empowering neighbors to share in the harvest and care of the land, the IV Gleaning Project hopes to reduce waste, build community, & create a cost-free means to obtain healthy, local food.
Forrest Roth was our 2020 IV Gleaning Coordinator! From July 31 to November 8, there were 18 gleans and 11 active gleaning volunteers who put in 84.5 volunteer hours and harevsted 4,000+ lbs!
Breakdown of 2020:
• 2,596 lbs of apples
• 672 lbs pears
• 455 lbs grapes
• 350 lbs plums
The Cave Junction Food Pantry at the Seventh Day Adventist Church was our primary delivery site for gleaned produce. The Meals on Wheels project at the IV Senior Center, IV Safe House Alliance, and the IV Family Coalition were our secondary recipients of produce. As in previous years, the main crop was apples. As a result, there was a lot of usage of our on-site Cider Press. Roughly 25 gallons of apple cider was pressed and distributed to the CJ Food Pantry, The Jubilee Park Slater Fire Evacuation Site in September, and to our Local Foods Dinner attendees in November. We used a steam juicer at Frog Farm to make about 8 gallons of grape juice. Events Coordinator, Caitlin Deane, and Forrest tabled at the Cave Junction Farmers Market in October to give away free apple cider and grape juice. The grape juice especially was a big hit! A generous donor gave us a selection of hand tools and an electric weed whacker. Thank you to all who contributed to a safe and successful 2020 season!!
2021 Gleaning Expansion
We have identified several ways in which the IV Gleaning Project can increase food security in under-served areas of our community. Several networks and partners that we will work through and in coordination with throughout 2021 are listed below, along with our goals and expansion timeline. Click each tab to learn more!
As of January 2021, the Josephine County Food Bank serves two food pantries in the Illinois Valley – one in Cave Junction at the Seventh Day Adventist Church Dorcas Center, and a pop up pantry in Selma. Both of these pantries hand out food once a week and each regularly serves more than 100 clients each week. With the economic challenges posed by Covid-19, need has increased in the past year. There are many residents in the farther reaches of the Illinois Valley who must drive 15 miles or more just to get to these food distribution sites, and are unable to make the journey because they don’t have cars or can’t drive themselves. We at Spiral Living Center aim to expand our IV Gleaning Project by setting up two additional weekly pop-up pantries in the Illinois Valley in under-served areas where the need is greatest. We have identified the communities of O’Brien (504 residents per 2010 census) and Takilma (378 residents per 2010 census) as sites for these pantries because no pantry currently serves these outlying areas. We plan to run these pantries from June through November. The 2021 Gleaning Coordinator will work with volunteers to help SLC staff run the pop-up pantries. By reducing geographical barriers, this expansion will increase food security particularly for low-income, disabled, and elderly residents in O’Brien and Takilma. With the addition of gleaned produce, it will also bring more nutritious, fresh, and local food to the people served.
Through the Oregon Food Bank, The Josephine County Food Bank supplies food to the Dorcas Center at the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Cave Junction, for weekly distribution. The food bank also runs a weekly pop-up pantry in Selma. For the operation of the new IVGP pantries, we hope to be supplied by the state and county food banks. Since we do not have food storage space of our own, we plan to work closely with Patti Delk at the Dorcas Center to utilize her facility’s storage space (including walk-in coolers) for deliveries and produce storage.
IV Wellness Resources (IVWR) connects seniors and disabled residents of the Illinois Valley with volunteers who provide services such as shopping runs, pharmacy pickups, and firewood help. Since our aim is to increase food distribution to people with limited transportation capabilities, many of IVWR’s clients are the exact people we are trying to reach. Although at-home food deliveries are out of the scope of IVGP currently, we hope to work together with Laura Mancuso at IVWR to promote IVGP’s new food pantries.
The Illinois Valley’s “Meals on Wheels” (IV Food & Friends) serves seniors within the city limits of Cave Junction and the immediate vicinity. They serve hot meals 3 days a week, with some delivery and some pickup. IV Food & Friends was a recipient of gleaned produce in 2020 and we plan to continue supplying them in 2021. As we continue to explore more at-home deliveries, we hope to work with Food & Friends, possibly in conjunction with IVWR, to increase food delivery to Illinois Valley residents who live well outside of Cave Junction.
April 30, 2021: IV Gleaning Project Coordinator hired for 2021
May 15, 2021: Food suppliers and locations secured for pop-up pantries
Week of May 30 2021: First pop-up food pantries start in O’Brien & Takilma
July-August 2021: Gleaning season starts, increasing fresh produce
Late November 2021: Weekly pop-up pantries and gleaning season closes
December 2021: Gleaning coordinator presents IVGP report to SLC board