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.