Two Hours, Seventy Volunteers and 7 Tons of Sweet Potatoes
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
By: Ashley Holland
On October 15, I participated in the first local employee “gleaning day” in Fuquay Varina, NC, with over 70 Bayer colleagues a handful of family members. It was great to get out of the office and onto the farm, and to make a big impact while we were there.
So, what is gleaning? I heard the term a few months ago and decided to investigate the idea. I found out that billions of pounds of food go uneaten each year, partially because a lot of food never even leaves the farm! Gleaning is the practice of gathering food that’s left on the farm after harvest.
With the help and expertise of the Society of St. Andrew Gleaning Network
(SoSA), we organized our first official gleaning day.
Bayer employees from the Raleigh-Durham area loaded in buses and made a trip out to Fuquay Varina (few-qway). I watched out the window as the scenery changed from large office buildings and busy highways to beautiful farm land and two-lane country roads. When our buses arrived at the farm, we jumped out and after some short instruction, got straight to work.
We filled hundreds of red, mesh sacks with sweet potatoes sized from tiny to huge. We even picked up the “ugly” ones, as long as they were not damaged or starting to rot. Pretty soon, a big white truck showed up from our local food bank, and we began loading the red sacks into the truck.
It turns out, about seventy volunteers and two hours in a field results in over seven TONS of sweet potatoes! What!? (It didn’t feel like we worked that hard!) To put this in perspective, the sweet potatoes we gleaned on that day will create 48,000 servings* for hungry people in our local area. Yum!
Way to go Bayer volunteers!
(*Bayer provided the volunteers, the potato donation was from SoSA.)