May 16, 2014 7:04 PM by Connie Tran, KSBY News
If you have fruit trees or vegetable gardens, and you have an excess of produce that may end up going to waste, there's an organization that would like you to donate that food. Glean SLO is a local program that is part of the San Luis Obispo County Food Bank Coalition.
It gathers volunteers to go pick the excess produce at large farms, or even in people's backyards.
KSBY caught up with Glean SLO and it's volunteers from Liberty High School in Paso Robles on Friday.
"When you're a teenager, it can be easy to get focused on yourself, but if they learn now how important it is to give back, I think they'll have a lifelong mind in service," said Kristin Guess, the leadership teacher at Liberty High School in Paso Robles.
The group harvested beets at Talley Farms in Arroyo Grande. The beets they pick will end up at various food banks in the county.
Guess said, "Well we believe, the students have been learning about how if you aren't starting your day on the right foot, you're basically not going to be a productive individual. Especially in school and at a young age when your mind is developing."
Jeanine Lacore, the program coordinator of Glean SLO, said it's imperative for those in need to receive fresh produce on top of the food they may receive at food banks.
She said, "As you can imagine, fresh produce especially now that we're in hard times with drought and everything, the price is just gonna increase."
That is why Lacore has found it so crucial to provide the SLO County Food Bank Coalition with fresh fruits and vegetables. Especially the ones that would have been thrown away or tilled.
The excess beets from Talley Farms on Friday would have been plowed the next day if they were not picked.
"So, this entire field would have just gone to waste," said Guess.
Glean SLO and its volunteers basically rescue the produce, so there's enough food for everyone in the community.
Lacore said, "Food waste is such a huge issue in our modern world."
She said that in 2013, the Food Bank Coalition of SLO County distributed more than six million pounds of food. Nearly half of that food was fresh produce.
The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County said it has a similar program like Glean SLO, called Backyard Bounty.
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