The work we do at Farm Fresh RI wouldn’t be possible without our volunteers. We hold enormous gratitude for all of our past, present, and future volunteers!
Today we are celebrating Laurie Petrone. Laurie has been volunteering with Hope’s Harvest for three years and in that time has become a familiar face for many of our volunteers. Even in the hot summer months, you can sometimes catch her gleaning twice a day!
In the past, Laurie worked as a dietician and in public health, making volunteering with Hope’s Harvest a continuation of her work addressing the issue of hunger and nutrition in Rhode Island. Laurie not only knows the importance of access to fresh produce in a healthy diet but also enjoys gardening and getting her hands dirty, making her a perfect match to get involved with Hope’s Harvest!
When not working or gleaning, Laurie can be found hiking and taking care of her own vegetable garden where, among other things, she grows six varieties of hot peppers!
Laurie enjoys visiting different farms and getting to see new parts of Rhode Island; even though she’s lived in the state for years, gleaning exposes her to new farms. Gleaning allows her to meet and chat with our wonderful partner farmers and work together with other like-minded volunteers. Each glean is a new experience and a chance to learn new things.
Laurie’s favorite farms to glean at are Charlotte’s Farm in North Kingstown and Martinez Farm in Cranston. Farmers Charlotte as well as Teo and Margarita from Martinez Farm are fun and generous, and are always willing to teach volunteers about different kinds of vegetables. Laurie doesn’t have a favorite crop to glean but rather enjoys being able to pick such a wide variety of different crops, which all provide different harvesting experiences.
A major takeaway she’s gained from her experiences gleaning with Hope’s Harvest is an appreciation for the hard work farmers put in to grow our food. When asked about any advice she has for future gleaners, Laurie says that gleaning is an activity that can fit into anyone’s life: a gleaning trip is a short, 2-hour time investment at a time that works for the volunteer.
Does Laurie recommend gleaning? Absolutely. She says, “Gleaning pays dividends.” Not only do volunteers get to meet great people, have fun, get exercise, and socialize with other volunteers and farmers outside on local farms, they also help to get food into the hands of people who need it most.
Thank you, Laurie, for your commitment to Hope’s Harvest and your contribution to our program culture and mission!