The Washington Gorge Action Programs (WGAP) Gleaning Program has partnered with the Klickitat County Health Department to organize the Rainbow Valley Gleaners Harvest Project in an effort to help prevent homegrown food going to waste and address food insecurity in Klickitat County.
As part of the Harvest Project, a registry was designed to connect neighbors with volunteer harvesters who will collect unused fruit, nuts, and vegetables from the yards of registry participants' at a pre-arranged date and time, take a fair share in exchange for their work, and donate the rest to local WGAP food banks.
The Harvest Project is intended to create a cost-free way for low and moderate income people to obtain local, healthy foods.
The most recent US Census Bureau estimate indicates that 19.5 percent of Klickitat County residents live below the federal poverty level. In the United States, poverty is the main cause of food insecurity, which is the uncertainty of having, or being able to acquire, enough food to meet the basic needs of all household members because of insufficient money and other resources.
In Klickitat County, 17 percent of residents are considered food insecure. Demand for emergency food services at the Washington Gorge Action Programs (WGAP) food pantries has increased in recent years, particularly with working families who need help until the next job or the next paycheck arrives.
WGAP is committed to help provide food security to our rural communities. In 2010, the combined county food pantries served almost 15,978 food boxes, a nearly 50 percent increase since 2008.
Community members throughout Klickitat County are encouraged to add their fruit and nut trees and home gardens to the Harvest Project.
Anyone who would like to participate or who has questions about the Harvest Project can contact Debi Budnick at the Klickitat County Health Department at 493-6234.
Registration forms can also be picked up at the WGAP office in Bingen or the Klickitat County Health Department office at the Pioneer Center in White Salmon.
Registration information is kept completely private.