307: Steve Knight on Gleaning for Your Community.

Tackling local food waste and hunger through team effort.

Steve taught high school science for 40 years and then retired. He spent the past few summers teaching chemistry for Upward Bound at the University of Maine at Farmington.  But what he is excited about is after he retired, he started a volunteer organization called Central Maine Gleaners Group. In the first 3 years, Steve and 15 volunteers have gleaned over 21,000 pounds of food from 7 local farms and back yards and he then gives this food to various food pantries in his area.

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In This Podcast:

Retirement does not mean you no longer contribute to your community, in fact retired teacher Steve Knight has taken advantage of his free time to do the make a huge difference for local food charities, and create a new club in his area. When he realized local farms had leftover produce after the harvest, he organized volunteers to go through the fields and orchards to gather the remnants for local food pantries. His volunteers are truly making a difference on two fronts!

Listen in and learn about:

    • Working for the peace corps in West Africa after going to the University in North Carolina, and meeting his wife then moving to Maine
    • Learning to save by not wasting
    • How his parents worked hard and put themselves school through college and each got PhDs
    • The documentary Just Eat It and how that opened his eyes to how much food is wasted
    • What the word ‘gleaning’ means
    • Getting his group together to start a Gleaning Club
    • How the skill of cooking is crucial to the food-waste issue
    • Pinch points that cause problems downstream
    • 1000 lbs of green beans
    • The emotional satisfaction he is getting from this endeavor
    • The time they harvested almost 4000 lbs of cabbage
    • Another project that he was inspired to emulate with veggie boxes along main street

As well as:

His failure – The first attempt at gleaning, and a team of 9 people worked all day and gleaned 3000 lbs of squash

His success – The growth of the network and the number of people involved in this

His drive – The need for good fresh food

His advice – Get involved – show up! Start small and make sure what you do is successful

Steve’s Book recommendations:  


Ishmael: A Novel – by Daniel Quinn

The Story of B – by Daniel Quinn

How to reach Steve:           

Facebook: Central Maine Gleaners Group


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