Farmers Open Fields for Free Picking Day: 40,000 Show Up

Totally off-topic but a touching Thanksgiving story: Joe and Chris Miller, an organic farming couple, finished their harvesting season and decided to open their fields to whomever needed food and wanted to show up and pick it. Miller said they opened the farm to the free public harvest after hearing reports of food being stolen from churches and it was meant as a thank-you for community.

They expected 5,000 to 10,000 people to show up Saturday to collect free potatoes, carrots and leeks. Instead, an estimated 11,000 vehicles snaked around cornfields and backed up more than two miles. About 30 acres of the 600-acre farm 37 miles north of Denver became a parking lot. 40,000 people showed up.

“We do Farmer’s Markets,” Joe Miller said. “And we do our fall harvest. We sell direct to the public.” This year was good to the Millers, so instead of letting the remainder of their crop freeze in the ground, the Millers decided to let people come and glean the fields.

Not only that, but the Millers provided bags for the produce, and rides out into the field. They encouraged the people who come out this weekend to bring their children.

“Teach them where potatoes come from — the ground,” Joe Miller said. “Not a tree, not out of a plastic bag, not out of a greenhouse.

Now that is a Happy Thanksgiving!

Related Link: NPR’s Story.

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