Letter to the editor: Vt. Senate must pass gleaning bill to feed the hungry

We can help feed the food insecure in Vermont. If the Vermont Senate agrees with the Vermont House, one proposed solution will soon go into action.

The Feeding America Foundation estimates that 9% of Vermonters are food insecure, that’s over 56,000 people — many who are children — who rely on school meals for their primary nutrition.

One solution is gleaning farm fields after harvest to collect usable produce that can’t be sold. To glean means “to gather what was left by the reapers.” Gleaning is commanded in the Old Testament as a means to feed those less fortunate.

There are gleaning initiatives around the state. In Addison County, H.O.P.E. operates a successful gleaning project. Salvation Farms, a non-profit in the Kingdom, has requested funds from the Legislature to launch a surplus crop aggregation and processing center.

Thank you to the Vermont House of Representatives who passed an appropriations bill that includes $500,000 to fund this initiative to collect, sort, clean, package and distribute gleaned produce to Vermont food shelves and schools. We hope the Vermont Senate will agree to that appropriation.

Please contact your Senators and ask them to support this important appropriation.

Paul Ralston, New Haven

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