From Interim Program Director Emily Worm:  

I don’t want you to forget the veggies, I want you to volunteer for veggies (and fruits)!

Points of Light, the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service, had a great post the other day entitled, “Forget your Veggies! Science Shows Volunteering is Healthier”. The article highlights research that shows volunteering has tangible mental and physical benefits. There is a growing body of research that points to links between volunteering and social connectedness, increased physical activity and improvements in brain function.

I agree that volunteering is healthy and we think volunteering for a gleaning might just be one of the healthiest opportunities! Here are three reasons why:

  1. Spend time outside at beautiful farms and orchards! Spending time in nature can enhance mental health, strengthen immunity, and improve focus.
  1. Inspiration to eat more veggies! From my own experience, meeting farmers and seeing how vegetables and fruits are grown and harvested, has totally changed where I buy my produce and increased my consumption of vegetables. After tasting tomatoes picked ripe from the vine or lettuce fresh from the field, I find myself craving fresh local fruits and vegetables.
  1. Help others receive healthy fruits and vegetables to eat. Last year our gleaners helped pick tens of thousands of pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables for the many hungry individuals and families in the KC Metro area. That’s a lot of healthy food!
  1. Increase physical activity. Gleaning is a great way to get your steps in for the day. At every gleaning there are tasks for people of all levels of physical activity. Some volunteers harvest, some sit and sort, some carry boxes of produce to cars, all of these tasks are important to the success of the gleaning and get you up and moving.

Sign up to glean with After the Harvest!  Coming soon: You’ll be able to sign up for specific and projected gleaning dates on our ATH website this year. We’re very excited and nearing completion of building this feature. We’ll let you know when you or your organization can reserve your date to glean. For more information about gleaning and other volunteer opportunities, visit our website.