Have you heard of a “Green Bean Bee”? It’s sort of like a quilting bee, but with green beans. To glean green beans, at the farm we pull up the entire plant (otherwise we would be in the field for days picking green beans). We stuff the plants into those big paper bags you use for lawn waste and haul them to a central place to “glean” the green beans.
After two recent Green Bean Bees, Puwen Lee, gleaning coordinator, wrote:
“On Friday, July 29, six volunteers rose early, picked 47 lawn bags full of bean plants, stuffed their vehicles and delivered them back to to the Plot Against Hunger Produce Bagging Center at Rock Spring Church and to people's homes in Arlington. 19 volunteers stripped 576.5 lbs. of beans at the church and at home. Those beans were delivered to 4 area food pantries.
On Tuesday, August 2, seven volunteers rose early, picked 25 bags (and also harvested potatoes and cucumbers), stuffed their vehicles, and delivered them to Rock Spring Church. 20 volunteers stripped 353 lbs. of beans at the church. Those beans were delivered to a food bank and The Carlin Senior Apartment Community.
That’s an incredible amount of green beans! Safeway sells a pound of green beans for $2.29. Using that number, these amazing volunteers harvested and processed $2,127 worth of green beans which were harvested and delivered within 24 hours to area feeding programs. It doesn't get any fresher or better than that.
In addition to this harvest of green beans, as of August 4, gardeners throughout Arlington have donated over 2,800 lbs. of fresh produce (vegetables, herbs, and fruit). Volunteers have bagged and delivered it to area food pantries and feeding programs. And over 4,000 lbs. of produce have been gleaned (harvested) since the beginning of July.”
Not only did this volunteer effort provide fresh, nutritious produce to our neighbors in need of supplemental food, it provided an opportunity for the volunteers to build community and connection – just like old-fashioned quilting bees.
In the coming months, volunteers will harvest potatoes, corn, zucchini, and winter squash. If you're interested in helping with either bagging or delivering produce or gleaning, go to: https://arlingtonurbanag.org/plot-against-hunger/ Individuals and groups are welcome to help with harvesting.
Finally, we express our gratitude to Kathy Dwyer, pastor of Rock Spring Church and Marlise Barr-Asher, Church Administrator, and Brian Davis, Custodian, and the Rock Spring Church congregation for their generosity in allowing the Produce Bagging Program to operate in Carpenter Hall. We also thank the dozens of volunteers who make this possible.