Editor’s Note: The story Hungry Harvest is being reprinted due to a publishing error.
One in five fruits and vegetables go to waste because of outward imperfections or logistical inefficiencies. Hungry Harvest is a non-profit organization that doesn’t want this food to waste, but works with local farmers to sell this produce at a reduced price.
Coming Recently graduated from Shawnee State University with a degree in individualized studies, Aziah Richardson is working to bring Hungry Harvest to Portsmouth, Ohio.
“Hungry Harvest comes into a community and provides organic, healthy food for people in the area,” Richardson said. “They work with the local farmers to get food that might have some flaws on the outside and won’t sell quickly in the supermarket, but is still good to eat. This food is then sold to people in town at a reduced price. On top of that, people who are on low income housing or SNAP benefits will have an added discount on the produce. They also come into the area to do farmers markets, or giveaways at schools.”
They help give farmers more business, so it would stimulate the local economy in more than one way.
The idea originally formed in collaboration with sociology professor Sean Dunne at Shawnee State University. Richardson spoke highly of Dunne and how he takes an active part in the student’s work to ensure change will happen.
“He does a lot as a teacher,” Richardson said, “way more than I was expecting. He didn’t have to take petitions and hand them out, but he really wants to see this thing grow. He wants to see Portsmouth thrive again.”
In order for this to happen, the first step is submitting a petition to Hungry Harvest to get the ball rolling. Richardson has been working diligently on obtaining signatures and informing people in the community about what this program can do for them.
“This petition was my life for weeks,” Richardson said. “We have 502 petitions so far, and you only need 500. We are planning on giving the petition out to some clubs on campus as well so we can be over and above what we need. There shouldn’t be any reason why they don’t come down here and get started.
As soon as we get all of the petitions, we will pack it in an envelope and send it out to Hungry Harvest. They have to review our application and make sure everything is up to par, then after four to six weeks we’ll know if they will come to Portsmouth.”
Born and raised in Portsmouth, Richardson is excited to play an active role in seeing change happen in the community.
“I love Portsmouth,” Richardson said, “and I think here recently there has been a lot of good energy and people have been trying to bring it back to life. This is one way that we can help push it to be better. The poverty in this area is crazy, and it will help people health-wise because organic food can be expensive normally.
I feel like everything we see on TV is negative about Portsmouth. I’m tired of it. I think we should show the positive things, because this is a great town and we have great people. A lot of times people see the outside of Portsmouth and don’t take the time to look on the inside.”
It will be about eight to twelve weeks until Hungry Harvest can be expected in Portsmouth. If you’d like to get involved and sign the petition, Aziah Richardson can be contacted at [email protected] For more information about Hungry Harvest, visit https://www.hungryharvest.net.