KCTV5 featured After the Harvest as part of their “Faces of Kansas City” series in this October 30, 2014 news report.
Faces of Kansas City: Organization puts leftover produce to use
Posted: Oct 30, 2014 3:49 PM CDT | Updated: Oct 30, 2014 5:13 PM CDT
By Laura McCallister, Multimedia Producer
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) – When going to a grocery store and looking over produce to buy, most people check for brown spots or dents.Some produce may not pass everyone’s inspections, but there is a local group that is more than willing to take what’s left of grocery store rejects.
“It’s obscene. It’s a crime that all of that food is wasted while all of those people are hungry and a large part of the food that’s wasted is produce that is simply not pretty enough for the store,” said Lisa Ousley, the executive director of After the Harvest.
The young organization began in the spring with the goal of getting nourishing food to people who need it.
“Since we opened our doors on May 19, we have actually provided our area with 800,000 pounds of food,” Ousley said.
One way that After the Harvest gets food to hungry people is when Ousley and her business partner Karin Page go to orchards to pick out or glean what is left behind on the ground.
“The uPick customers pay to pick apples off the tree, but the orchardist says we can have all the apples on the ground and there’s thousands and thousands and thousands,” Page said.
With volunteers from all kinds of groups, churches and individuals, enough produce is gathered to provide a hefty portion to food banks metro-wide, primarily Harvesters.
Gleaning is one part of After the Harvest. The bulk of its rescued food comes from deals with truckers, farmers and packers. If a load of produce is rejected, they arrange for transport to places like Harvesters.
Ousley and Page saw a need for hunger assistance after the recession when even the middle class began living paycheck to paycheck. They said it isn’t just the homeless who need the food they provide.
“That’s a small percentage of who’s using food pantries. It’s the working poor, it’s people with good jobs, who, one of them lost a job, they have a house, they’re underwater in their mortgage and they can’t move into a smaller place. It’s a lot of people for a lot of different reasons, not just the homeless,” Page said.
After the Harvest is always looking for volunteers to help out when they gather food in the fields. They said that while volunteers are gleaning, they can eat all of the fresh locally grown produce that they want.
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