Grown Here at Home: LEAP Kitchen ensuring ‘ugly produce’ doesn’t go to waste
ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - It’s Operation Butternut Squash at the LEAP Kitchen in Roanoke. They found out Riverstone Organic Farm in Floyd had so much squash, it most likely would have spoiled before being sold.
LEAP called on volunteers to help process 300 to 400 pounds of butternut squash. It all goes back to their mission to reduce food waste, support local farmers, and strengthen local food systems.
“We started a pilot project for processing back in May where we’re taking items that are not fit for retail just because they have a blemish, or they’re not perfectly shaped -- taking those, what we call number two-grade produce items and turning them into value-added, healthy nutritious food for people to buy,” said LEAP Kitchen Manager Jeff Bland.
The squash is prepared and packed. Nothing goes to waste.
“Any peeling, any seeds, anything that comes off that squash goes into compost. So at least it’s not going into landfills. We try to make this as much of a zero-waste process as possible,” Bland explained.
The squash will be sold on LEAP’s Mobile Market and at Riverstone’s Farm Store.
“We work with farms all over the area and then there are food hubs that we work with, as well. The more that we can get these local farmers to participate with us, the better,” Bland said.
Many hands make light work. If you’d like to volunteer at the LEAP Kitchen, click here to fill out a form.
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