Project Background

Hope’s Harvest RI mobilizes volunteers to rescue food from local farms that would otherwise go to waste and distributes it to local hunger relief agencies. Farm-based food recovery, also known as “Gleaning”, is the ancient practice of collecting unharvested produce from farmer’s fields and distributing it to people in need. There are over 250 gleaning projects across the United States, which makes gleaning a proven and well documented model for improving food security and minimizing food waste.

Hope’s Harvest RI is Rhode Island’s first gleaning project, although our neighbors in MA, VT, and ME all have strong and vibrant communities of gleaners. Hope’s Harvest RI started gleaning in the 2018 growing season and is fiscally sponsored by Farm Fresh Rhode Island, a registered 501c3 organization.

This work is made possible by the Carter Fellowship for Entrepreneurial Innovation, a program at the Rhode Island Foundation funded by Letitia and John Carter, the Claneil Foundation, and other generous sponsors and individual donors.

Staff

Eva Agudelo is the founder of Hope’s Harvest RI. Since 2008, she has worked with beginning farmers, restaurants, retailers, farmers markets, non-profits, and hunger relief agencies, to improve community food security and bring about a food system that works for everyone. Eva started the National Incubator Farm Training Initiative through the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project, served as a FINI program officer at Wholesome Wave supporting incentive programs at farmers markets across the U.S., and most recently, was the Assistant Director of Programs at the Rhode Island Community Food Bank, administering federal nutrition programs and supporting Rhode Island’s statewide network of food pantries and meal sites. She holds an M.S. from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University and is a member of the Rhode Island Food Policy Council (RIFPC).

Melanie Lopez is a part of the Americorps VISTA program which she joined after finishing undergrad. She studied biology and medical anthropology and has an interest in developing a nonprofit focus on addressing women’s health disparities in the future. She loves the outdoors and enjoys every chance she gets to work with our volunteers collecting produce for our community in need.

Molly Hastings is working a Direct Service Americorps position with Hope’s Harvest RI. After spending several years working in maker spaces and museum exhibit production, she is attempting to move toward a more ecologically and ethically concerned career path. She loves hanging out with farmers and their land, growing food, and reading science fiction.