Urban Gleaners is a food-rescue charity that has been operating in Portland, Oregon since 2006. The organization picks up food from restaurants and grocery stores and redistributes it to agencies that are helping to feed hungry families all over the city. Urban Gleaners also runs a number of programs that address hunger in schools, operate free farmers markets, provide emergency food relief, and operate a mobile market.
Food Tank had the opportunity to speak with Diana Foss, Director of Urban Gleaners.
Food Tank (FT): How do you contribute to creating a better food system?
Diana Foss (DF): Urban Gleaners rescues wholesome food that would otherwise be thrown away and redistributes it to hungry children and their families. We collect food from restaurants, grocery stores, manufacturers, farms, and farmers markets and deliver it, free of charge, to pantries at more than 20 schools and housing complexes in Multnomah County.
FT: What is a project, program, or result you are most proud of? Please explain.
DF: We are most proud of our Food to Schools program, which gets nutritious, fresh food including dairy, organic produce, and whole-grain bread directly into the hands of children who need it most.
FT: What are your goals for 2015 and beyond?
DF: This year we are planning to buy a new van, which we will convert into a Mobile Market. This will allow us to take our wholesome, fresh food, free of charge, to families who are unable to travel to our school-based pantries.
FT: In one sentence, what is the most important thing eaters and consumers can do today to support a more sustainable food system?
DF: Eaters and consumers can shop for food that is grown with care for both the people who work the land and the land itself, and use it wisely so it is not wasted.
FT: How can individuals become more involved in your organization?
DF: We couldn’t do our work without our committed volunteers. Volunteers pick up donations, sort food in our warehouse, and repack prepared foods into smaller containers.
Download the 2015 Good Food Org Guide HERE.