In 2019 at a Transition Town Jericho meeting, Tucker Andrews, a local farmer, highlighted his frustration of not being able to find the labor to get gleaned produce out of the field and into the hands of those who need it. TTJ approached Tucker with the promise to do just that. During the Spring of 2020, Tucker announced that he would plant an extra row of butternut squash for donation.
With a good growing season under our belt, the squash was ready to harvest, and the weather was threatening to freeze the crop if we did not get it out of the fields quickly.
Laura from TTJ, contacted past TTJ participants and was able to round up 12 volunteers on short notice. On a Sunday afternoon, in one hour those 12 people harvested:
584 squash: on average, 2.5 lbs each; total weight 1460 lbs. (estimate)
After making arrangements with local food distribution agencies, the squash was divided between:
-Jericho/Underhill/Essex Food shelf, 50-80 families are fed once each month
-The Janet S. Munt Family Room, they feed 110 families a week
-Feeding Chittenden, 12,000 people are fed every year.
With such a success, Tucker wants to pursue this again in 2021. He said, “The partnership this year was a great start on something that could be an important aspect of food security in our community.”
If we could establish a mindset like that with other farmers, they may be willing to do more in support of the community, as they know the community supports them.
We’d like this not to be a fad, but to be a generation to generation sustaining behavior that supports the farmers and the local economy. Could we build such a model?
And finally, as Irene from TTJ posted on Facebook, “Thanks to Transition Town Jericho members and friends who picked 584 butternut squash on a beautiful Sunday afternoon from the rows planted by farmer Tucker Andrews, exclusively to feed our neighbors. Job well done by everyone.”