KANSAS CITY, MO. -- Late summer and fall is a busy time for Lisa Ousley and Bernard Schneider. They have green beans, potatoes, tomatoes, melons, cucumbers and zucchinis to rescue. Tons of them.
Ousley and Schneider aren’t farmers. They’re gleaners. They take teams of volunteers into fields and orchards to pick fruit and vegetables that otherwise would be left to rot. Then they distribute the produce to food banks and agencies that serve the hungry.
Ousley and Schneider are the executive director and program coordinator respectively of the Society of St. Andrew’s Western Headquarters in Kansas City, Mo.
“Basically our goal is to get produce that is not marketable for cosmetic reasons and get it to people who cannot afford to buy produce,” Ousley said.
Commercial food producers have exacting standards for size, color and appearance. Zucchinis that grow too large, potatoes that didn’t grow big enough, blemished tomatoes or oddly shaped cucumbers can’t be sold.