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.
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).
Mollie Rose K Siebert is Hope’s Harvest’s Operations Manager. She studied geography and place-based education at Macalester College. While living in South Minneapolis, she taught classes and developed programming in backcountry leadership, food preservation, and farm ecology. Her first exposure to gleaning was as a collective member with Sisters’ Camelot. After spending some time working in kitchens, Mollie Rose returned to the soil and worked on farms in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Connecticut, Vermont, and most recently, Alabama. She’s worked with companies like Good Food Jobs as a strategist and designer, and helped small food and farm organizations align their actions with their values. Mollie Rose is a recent alum of the Next Economy MBA program. For seven years she was a board member and performer with the arts non-profit BareBones Puppets, a Halloween circus, and she is active in the theater collective Wild Conspiracy, weaving together stories about ecology and humanity.
Merl Schuster is a part of the Americorps VISTA program. They joined Hope’s Harvest after finishing their undergraduate degree in Earth and Environmental Science and Sociology at Lehigh University. Merl loves DIY projects, being outside, and jamming on the guitar. They are passionate about food sovereignty and autonomous modes of living. Merl hopes to go back to school after Americorps to study sociology in racial and ethnic studies.
Sammy Blair is a Gleaning Assistant at Hope’s Harvest. She is studying to get her Master of Science degree in Integrated Land and Food Systems while working for the organization. Sammy has lived and worked across the country and abroad in diverse communities to promote sustainable food systems through education, production, and community access programs. She loves to grow, eat, and share food, and spending time outdoors.
Annie Bayer is a Gleaning Assistant at Hope’s Harvest. She’s been an intern, crew member, educator and manager on small diversified farms for the past eight years throughout New England and the Pacific Northwest. She finds herself drawn to food in every aspect of her life, using stories, songs and potlucks to link the community back to the land. She’s a maker and a tinkerer and is interested in learning more about how farm tool design can make organic farming more accessible to a larger group of people.