Gleaning Apples, Donating Produce
Throughout this summer and fall, the Bennington College community has come together to donate produce from local gardens and glean apples from trees on the College’s property in order to benefit Bennington food pantries.
These hunger-fighting initiatives are part of the College’s ongoing Andrew W. Mellon Foundation-funded work to address food insecurity in Bennington County.
Grow a Row
Beginning this summer and continuing throughout the fall, the Center for the Advancement of Public Action (CAPA) and the Robert Frost Stone House Museum have invited all gardeners in the Bennington area to grow an extra row of vegetables to help feed the community.
Erin McKenny, Director of the Robert Frost Stone House Museum & Design and Planning Coordinator for the College, has been coordinating Grow a Row collection efforts.
“I have been overwhelmed by the generosity of our community through our Grow A Row and apple gleaning program,” said McKenny. “About 12-15 gardeners have taken part in our Grow A Row program, and we have been able to deliver about 30 different kinds of vegetables and herbs to two local food pantries throughout the summer and into the fall. We have also had a wonderful response to our apple gleaning program—both from folks ready to pick and others who dropped off already picked apples at the Robert Frost Stone House Museum. Through these efforts, we have donated about 800 pounds of apples so far."
Those who are interested in participating in this program can email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Produce can be dropped off at the Robert Frost Stone House Museum on Tuesdays from 9:00 am-6:00 pm for distribution to local food pantries.
Drop-off is located at the smaller red screened in barn building on the Stone House grounds. Several parking spaces are located across the path from the barn for ease of drop-off.
Vegetable donations have included:
- Six varieties of herbs
- Butternut squash
- Summer squash
- Cherry tomatoes
- Green beans
- Delicata squash
Bushels for Neighbors
Combining a quintessential Vermont fall activity with community activism, McKenny has also organized gleaning opportunities for Bennington students, staff, faculty, and community members who are interested in picking apples this season.
As part of Tatiana Abatemarco and Susan Sgorbati's Understanding Food Insecurity in Bennington 2 course, students including Eva Forman ’23 and Sam Stubbs ’23 spent an afternoon gleaning apples from Bennington College campus trees, which were donated to Grateful Hearts, an organization that prepares food for elderly and food insecure community members.
Apples picked by these students were used to make 40 Apple Comfort Puddings, which Grateful Hearts shared with community members in need in Bennington, Manchester, and Rutland.
Through this program, Bennington faculty and staff members have also donated apples, which have been distributed to local organizations including Grateful Hearts, where they will be made into apple-based meals and treats; HIS Pantry and The Kitchen Cupboard, which distribute whole apples; and Shires Housing, which will distribute apples throughout their housing communities and will also use them in some upcoming cooking classes for residents in those communities. Faculty member Mirka Prazak donated approximately 150 lbs of apples, and also picked apples for Grateful Hearts.
Local alumni are also getting involved—MaryJane Sarvis ’79 has offered trees on her nearby property for picking, and Bennington Postbaccalaureate Medical Program alum Tabbie Aldrich, Assistant Director of Admissions Fran Salcedo-Edwards ’18, and Career Counselor Jocelyn Salcedo ’18 have joined weekend gleaning events.
Are you and your families apple picking this season? Do you have trees with more fruit than you need, or neighbors who are willing to share? Drop off your apples at the red barn at the Robert Frost Stone House Museum to donate them to Grateful Hearts, and contact Erin McKenny to volunteer for future gleaning opportunities.