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Growers' Gift Spaghetti Sauce – Gleaning for Arkansas’s Hungry

Growers' Gift Spaghetti Sauce is made of ingredients gleaned from Arkansas farms, and it's being sold to support gathering produce for the state's hungry. PHOTO from the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance.
Growers' Gift Spaghetti Sauce is made of ingredients gleaned from Arkansas farms, and it's being sold to support gathering produce for the state's hungry. PHOTO from the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance.
November 18, 2013

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Arkansas farmers and the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance are gleaning and cooking to feed the hungry. Gleaning is a practice that dates back to the Bible, in which farmers let people go into the fields after a harvest and gather left-behind food for the poor.

There is so much demand for produce from the Arkansas Gleaning Project that organizers want to sell a product to pay for preserving some. As a pilot operation, they're cooking spaghetti sauce with gleaned tomatoes.

Michelle Shope, the director of food sourcing and logistics for the AHRA, called from the kitchen on her cell phone between batches.

"Our label is Growers' Gift, because the product is truly a gift from Arkansas growers," she said.

Shope said everything about Growers' Gift sauce comes from Arkansas, even the recipe. And she said the ingredients are all natural, gathered from the farm fields in the state.

"Tomatoes and bell peppers and thyme and oregano, and every word on the label is something I can pronounce," she declared.

Shope said they're only making a few hundred jars this year, and half of that's already sold. But she said that next summer they plan to make as many as 15,000 jars of the sauce. She said it's driven by the success of the Arkansas Gleaning Project, which is already providing millions of pounds of produce for the state's hungry. Shope characterized it as a good idea that's proving timeless.

"We are bringing that biblical principal into the modern day, and I have not met the farmer yet that likes to plow something under that he's grown."

She said there is a lot of hunger for fresh produce at the state's food programs.

"I have seen women cry at receiving fresh okra, saying that they hadn't received any fresh okra in twelve years," she said.

A 16-ounce jar of Growers' Gift Spaghetti Sauce will sell for $5.

More information is at ARHungerAlliance.org.

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - AR