Anyone who has slept in on a Saturday morning and gotten to the Market late has probably noticed that our farmers don’t usually sell out of everything on their tables. What happens to bunches of beets and pints of potatoes that haven’t sold after a 5-hour Market day?
For the past seven years, the Mill City Farmers Market has partnered with volunteers from Augsburg University’s Campus Kitchen, to provide “gleaning” at the Market. Gleaning is the act of going over a field or area that has just been harvested and gathering any usable parts of the crop that remain. With help from student volunteers, we do this at the Market, too, in a program called Greens for Good.
Around 1 p.m. volunteers in green aprons walk around asking the Market’s produce farmers if they have any product to donate. Farmers give fruits and vegetables that didn’t sell and won’t survive the drive home, “seconds” (slightly bruised or with other aesthetic concerns), CSA boxes that didn’t get picked up or for any number of other reasons. With funding from the program’s sponsor, Delta Dental of Minnesota, the Market is even able to compensate farmers who donate between $0.75 and $1.00 per pound!
After filling up their mini van with boxes of fresh fruit, vegetables and occasional other perishable items such as bread, Campus Kitchen volunteers assemble these items in CSA-style bags and distribute them to low-income families and individuals in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood, just a mile southeast of the Market. In 2018, we donated 5,121 pounds of local, chemical-free produce.
This Saturday, August 10, we’re opening up our Greens for Good food donation program to the public! You can get involved in our food donation program in 3 ways:
- Purchase an extra bundle of greens, pound of beans or any other product when you’re grocery shopping at the market this Saturday and bring it to the Greens for Good and Delta Dental of Minnesota tent at the top of the Market. Everyone who donates will even receive a voucher for a free cup of coffee or $2 off any other beverage at The Bolt or Cafe Palmira as a thank you.
- Donate your stash of paper grocery bags or reusable tote bags. Every week we go through dozens of bags as we distribute donated produce. Reusing your unwanted bags helps our zero waste mission and ensures more of the program’s funding is going toward farmer compensation and other supplies. You can drop bags off at the Greens for Good and Delta Dental of Minnesota tent at the top of the Market.
- In addition to our fresh produce drive, pig farmers from Oink Outings will be at the Market this Saturday, answering your questions about pigs and pork. For each question that you ask, they donate one pound of ground pork to Second Harvest Heartland to help feed families in need.
Click here for more details on Saturday’s market.