Eat Local Guide :: Sarasota Edition


Suncoast Gleaning Project

Last season was the first for Transition Sarasota’s Suncoast Gleaning Project, and although we believed strongly in the idea of harvesting left-over produce from local farms for the food insecure in our community, we didn’t know how successful it would be. The results surpassed even our most optimistic expectations.

A Win for Those in Need

In 28 weeks of gleaning at Jessica’s Organic Farm in Sarasota, we donated 30,215 pounds of fresh produce to All Faiths Food Bank to be distributed through their network of over 100 agency partners in Sarasota and Desoto counties. The only cost to All Faiths was the cost of picking the produce up at the farm and transporting it to their warehouse.

A Win for Local Farmers

Farmers who donate produce are allowed to deduct the full market value from their taxes. Bill Pischer at Jessica’s Organic Farm was given receipts for all of the produce he generously donated this season.

A Win for Volunteers

Throughout the season, we averaged about 15 volunteers per gleaning, many of them students from New College of Florida. In appreciation for their two hours of service, each volunteer was invited to take home one shopping bag full of produce each week. All in all, volunteers donated approximately 840 hours of labor this season, worth $6,140 even at minimum wage.

A Win for Our Funders

The Rotary Club of Sarasota and Whole Foods Market Sarasota fully funded our first season budget of $2,100. For that, they received a great return on their investment in our community. The Suncoast Gleaning Project delivered fresh, local, organic produce for just under $0.07 a pound. That’s hard to beat!

A Win for the Community

The Suncoast Gleaning Project also raised much awareness about important issues of local agriculture and food insecurity through articles in the Bradenton Herald, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Edible Sarasota Magazine, the New College Catalyst, and the Pelican Press.

Looking Ahead to Next Season

The Suncoast Gleaning Project exemplifies the core values that Transition Sarasota stands for:

  • Building a more resilient and self-reliant community;
  • Revitalizing our local agriculture;
  • Strengthening our local economy;
  • Eliminating our dependence on fossil fuels; and
  • Implementing locally-based solutions that create a better world for all.

This year, with additional funding, we plan to hire a second Project Coordinator for the Suncoast Gleaning Project, partner with additional farms, and at least double the amount of produce we donate.

If you’d like to help, click here or email foodattransitionsarasotadotorg.


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