October 19, 2018
After we left Nk’Mip in Osoyoos, we headed north to Oliver, BC to visit Len and Marj at the Okanagan Gleaners, where they volunteer during the winter months. They stay in their Airstream motorhome in the onsite campground and volunteer 4 hours per day.
This non-profit organization makes dried soup mixes that are sent overseas to people in need. Local farmers send them surplus produce that can’t be sold in grocery stores (e.g. apples and potatoes that are too big or considered “ugly”) instead of composting or trashing them. There is an abundance of produce in the Okanagan, so the Gleaners process the unwanted fruits and vegetables by dehydrating them to make the soup mixes.
The winter volunteers work for 4 hours in the morning, cleaning and cutting vegetables, which go into a massive dehydrator. The dehydrator takes up an entire room on its own! It is fully computerized and shuts off when the process is complete.
The dried product is stored in drums and is later mixed and packaged. The soup mixes do not contain seasonings so that the local flavors can be added at their destinations.
The Gleaners work with relief organizations like: World Vision Canada, Mennonite Central Committee and Mission Without Borders.
Len and Marj gave us a full tour because it was afternoon and work for the day had ended. In the evening, we had a barbecue with Len and Marj and stayed in the campground for the night.