Portsmouth Ford has come to the gleaning rescue for New Hampshire’s largest hunger relief organization in the Seacoast, Gather Food Pantry.
Gleaning is the act of collecting leftover crops from farmers’ fields after they have been commercially harvested or on fields where it is not economically profitable to harvest.
With approximately 160,000 New Hampshire residents filing for unemployment, and a limited tourist season ahead, many people are turning to food pantries and gleaned produce will contribute a significant supply of healthy food for Seacoast residents in need.
Portsmouth Ford’s gift of a F150 pickup truck will increase the ability of Gather staff and volunteers to glean from 20 local farms including Independence Farm Stand in Rye, McKenzie’s Farm in Milton, Brandmoore Farm in Rollinsford, Riverside farm in North Berwick, Maine, and Emery Farm in Madbury, covering approximately a 50-mile range from southern New Hampshire to southern Maine.
An estimated 55,000 pounds of various fruits and vegetables will be gleaned and distributed the next several months at Gather’s food pantry at 210 West Road in Porsmouth, the seven Meals 4 Kids mobile markets and the three open markets at the Community Campus available for Seacoast residents experiencing food insecurity.
“During these trying times, my family wanted to give back to our community that has done so much for us over the last 30 years,” said Chris Sawyer of Portsmouth Ford. “Our dealership has always been involved in the community but during these last few months we really wanted to make a significant impact. That is why we teamed up with Gather to donate this truck so they can continue to serve our community to the best of their ability.”
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Independence Farm on Washington Road in Rye is a major contributor to Gather and the Seacoast community by providing more than 6,000 pounds of gleaned vegetables and offering a well-stocked farm stand carrying everything from fresh garlic to basil and many types of potatoes.
“2020 will be our third season providing fresh produce to our local community,” said David Tromp of Independence Farm Stand. “As we learn how much of each crop to grow, we inevitably over-produce some crops. It’s very rewarding to see these nutritious vegetables feed our community, supporting families and neighbors going through a difficult time.”
Executive Director Deb Anthony said Gather is “forever grateful to Portsmouth Ford for enabling our crew to perform at an even more efficient level of gleaning.”
“Now more than ever,” she added, “efficiency is key to keeping up with the growing needs and demands of the 4,000-plus local people experiencing food insecurity and the Ford pickup truck will significantly impact our ability to collect and share fresh produce weekly.”
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