Soft and Dried

My hometown of Smithville, Ontario, is ground zero for a wonderful initiative. An ambitious group of volunteers aims to feed the world and they’re doing it one vegetable at a time.

A non-denominational Christian group – The Niagara Gleaners – are about to send their first shipments of dried fruits and vegetables. They’re taking in ugly, misshapen but otherwise edible produce which they sort, dice, dry and then package to ship it where it’s needed. Carrots, potatoes, apples and other healthy fresh foods go anywhere in the world. One bag of soup mix can feed 100 people.

Vegetables and fruit come from farms all over Niagara. They are the rejects from major grocers. The greens deemed not pretty enough. The tossed salad. The tubers with tumours. The imperfect pears and unappetizing apples.

The Gleaners have a production facility, funded by donations, in Smithville’s industrial park. Dozens of volunteers do all of the work. They’re hoping to help people in faraway lands as well as Canada’s indigenous peoples living in remote areas. Wherever there’s a need.

This is goodness – this is what I was always led to believe that religion was about. Helping where you can. Feeding the hungry. Giving hope to those without it. Add to that, reducing the waste of edible – if unattractive – food. It’s a feel-good project that has no downside. Way to go Gleaners!

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