Interview: Grant Uno Goes to Gather Baltimore!

February 25, 2013

Awesome Baltimore Trustee, Briony Hynson, and Guest Trustee, Dixon Stetler, fork over cool cash dough to Arthur Morgan for Gather Baltimore!

It’s been a few weeks since we handed out our FIRST GRANT to the totally rad and ever-worthy Arthur Morgan for his project, Gather Baltimore. That picture to the right is the dashing Morgan getting his cool cash dough from Awesome Baltimore Trustee, Briony Hynson, and Guest Trustee, Dixon Stetler! Yippee!Our kick-ass trustee, Chloe Gallagher talked to the Gather Baltimore folks to gain some insight into how and why they do the work they do.

Awesome Baltimore: How did the idea of Gather Baltimore originate? When did you decide that you needed to make it a reality?
Gather Baltimore: The epiphany hit Arthur Morgan at the Farmers Market one Sunday morning. Just before noon, when the market was to end, vendors would begin throwing away food they could not sell. Morgan watched as hungry people rummaged through the discarded food, even picking up produce that had fallen on the ground. “I said, ‘Holy Moly! Look at all this food that is going to waste,'” Morgan says. So Morgan, himself an urban farmer, devised a way to salvage some of the scraps by collecting the food in bins and transporting it himself by pickup truck to Our Daily Bread, a nonprofit that serves daily meals to people in need, and Shiloh United Church. Over time he learned from fellow farmers that the market’s waste was just the tip of the iceberg and was nothing compared to what the farmers were unable to harvest, sell or use from the farms themselves. That problem gave birth to Morgan’s fellowship, Gather Baltimore: Gaining Access To Healthy Eating Resources.

AB: Can you tell us a little about how Gather Baltimore works and who the beneficiaries of your project are?
GB: The goal of the project is to scale up his farmers market food collection efforts and find an efficient way to glean foods that would otherwise rot on the vines at area farms. Morgan and volunteers will harvest the perishable produce and distribute it to a diverse network of organizations that can use the food right away to feed the homeless and hungry or else jar, pickle and store it for later use. Gather delivers food to community partners that distribute the food to their communities- these partners include; Oliver Community Operation Oliver and Shiloh Baptist Church and others. Gather is also delivering to Moveable Feast, Helping Up MIssion, Our Daily Bread and Fraciscan Center.

AB: How does someone go about getting involved with Gather? What kinds of volunteers do you need and what kind of opportunities might exist for them?
GB: Gather is always looking for volunteers! We need help Gleaning the food( actually going into the fields and picking produce) We also use  a lot of manpower when gathering after the Sunday farmers Market. We are currently getting our spring and summer Gleaning Schedule together. Like us on Facebook to stay up to date on volunteer opportunities and email to get put on the mailing list. Gleaning days are great for all ages! Market gathering days are better for adults and people who can lift stuff.
AB: Do you have a favorite type of produce?
GB: Beets!
AB: If you could see any musician/band, living or dead, live in concert who would it be?
GB: As I Lay Dying!
AB: What do YOU think makes an idea awesome enough to be worthy of $1000?
GB: Track record and willingness to work hard!
So there you have it, folks. Gather is awesome and totally badass. They do a very cool thing and need some volunteers to keep it going. So, why don’t you help them turnip the beet (Ha, get it? TURNIP THE BEET? LIKE TURN UP THE BEAT! BOOM!) and donate some of your time and skills? Gleaning is totally sexy and anyone can do it! Seriously, just try. Bring a date. We also wanted to give a shout out and thanks to our amazing Guest Trustees for this last round, Elaine Asal & Dixon Stetler. Y’all are the bomb diggity-est!
Until next time, we love you Baltimore, AB.