Annual harvest brings community together to help others

Annual corn harvest
Published: Aug. 31, 2023 at 6:22 AM EDT
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BELLEVILLE, New York (WWNY) - An annual harvest in the Belleville Henderson community will send corn by the bushel across central New York.

For Jay Canzonier, seeing his community come together is the best part of the annual harvest he hosts for the Food Bank of Central New York.

“That’s really the biggest part of it,” he said. “It’s not necessarily the giving back, but it’s the community coming out and supporting a cause. It’s not even something that we’re doing for our local community, this corn is going to be distributed all through the state.”

The owner of North Branch Farms is working hand in hand with Future Farmers of America and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County to help harvest and donate more than 10,000 ears of corn to the food bank.

“Volunteering is the core of FFA,” said Joe Canzonier, who’s vice president of the Belleville Henderson FFA. “It’s the heart of what we do. It’s incredibly important to me to be out here and see all these younger kids who are coming up into our FFA chapter and to see them really getting involved.”

“It was great being out in the field, handpicking each piece of corn, knowing that it’s going to go back to people in need in our community,” said Christina Shanley, who’s local foods program manager with Cornell Cooperative Extension. “It means a lot that we’re able to grow something right here in Jefferson County and be able to give it back to the people who need it.”

Jay Canzonier says the yearly event helps both the ones receiving the donations and those helping to get it there.

“It’s not only instilling the farm genes, but it’s instilling the giving genes,” he said. “To get these kids out here and to explain to them what the purpose of the mission is and where this food is going to go and the people it’s going to help is really a great life lesson for them.”

The more than 800 dozen ears of corn picked Wednesday night will be picked up and distributed throughout central New York over Labor Day weekend.