Gleaning and feeding: Using leftovers from markets to feed the homeless

Volunteers at Miriam\'s Kitchen prepare two meals a day to feed those who need a warm, healthy meal. (Courtesy of Miriam\'s Kitchen/Geoff Dudgeon)
When farm-to-table stretches to nonprofits

Rachel Nania | November 14, 2014 10:04 pm

WASHINGTON -Gleaning: It’s a term used when a farmer goes out to the field to reap what’s left over from harvest.

But for Miriam’s Kitchen — a D.C.-based nonprofit that feeds the homeless — gleaning means a solution for providing restaurant-quality meals to those who need it most.

Miriam’s Kitchen feeds approximately 300 people each day — 175 for breakfast and 125 for dinner — and all at the operating cost of $1 per person.

But despite its seemingly impossible budget, the chefs at Miriam’s Kitchen churn out incredible meals, many of which are made with local ingredients that are donated, or gleaned, from the FRESHFARM Foggy Bottom Farmers Market.

“We’ll open up the fridge and we’ll pull out a whole basket of produce that we got from gleaning,” says Steve Badt, senior director of meals and volunteer engagement.

Badt has been at Miriam’s Kitchen for 12 years, and has benefitted from the gleaning program through FRESHFARM Markets for eight years. He estimates last year’s donation from the farmers — which could be anything from produce, to meats and cheeses — was between $20,000 and $30,000.

“We’ll yell to the volunteers,


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