Volunteers Needed to Help Harvest Local Crops for Metro Detroit’s Hungry
Forgotten Harvest is looking for approximately 500 volunteers to help harvest crops from area farmers who have donated portions of their farms for the Harvest for Hunger program.
Farmers are often challenged by consumer demand for flawless produce, and, too often, perfectly tasty fruits and vegetables are unable to be sold through the normal distribution chain.
Macomb Township farmer Ken DeCock was faced with this problem recently when a crop of corn was still edible, but not pretty enough for store shelves. Instead of throwing it away, he donated the corn to Forgotten Harvest. He gave to the nonprofit again last year, and is happy there’s a need for the less-than-perfect produce.
“It makes me feel good to know that the food is not going to go to waste and that it will go to someone who is in need,” said DeCock, co-owner of Boyka’s DeCock Farm Market and Greenhouse.
Forgotten Harvest was formed in 1990 to fight two problems: hunger and waste. Forgotten Harvest rescued 43.9 million pounds of food last year by collecting surplus prepared and perishable food from more than 455 sources, including grocery stores, fruit markets, restaurants, caterers, dairies, farmers, wholesale food distributors, and more approved sites. The donated food, which would otherwise go to waste, is delivered free-of-charge to emergency food providers in Metro Detroit.
Through its Harvest for Hunger program started last year, Forgotten Harvest is in the midst of harvesting about 500,000 pounds of food from 37 acres of donated land in Shelby and Ray townships in Macomb County; Davisburg in Oakland County; and Casco Township in St. Clair County.
With the help of 500 volunteers, these locations will yield fruits like watermelon and cantaloupe, and veggies such as summer squash, potatoes, zucchini and collard greens, said Ryan Rowinski, Forgotten Harvest Farm Produce Manager.
Since Forgotten Harvest is doing the farming itself at the four sites listed above, volunteers are needed to help.
“We really rely on volunteers to help with this and they have allowed us to have the success we have achieved so far despite this hot and dry spring and summer,” Rowinski said.
Groups of 20-50 people are needed for weekly harvest. They are also in need of volunteers who can respond on short notice when famers are in need of a “rescue” opportunity. For information, call Volunteer Manager Marci Fitch at 248-967-1500 ext. 125 or firstname.lastname@example.org.