After following Sarah Henry (Lettuce Eat Kale) link to Amanda Hesser Advice for Future Food Writers on Food 52, I noticed her own story Gleaning for Good: An Old Idea Is New Again (Shareable, April 2, 2012) on "gleaning to feed the hungry in communities around the country."
It reminded me of Canadian program which I wrote about in 2595 Pounds of Urban Fruit Picked So Far in 2010, Not Far From The Tree, Toronto (August 9, 2010).
Gleaning as applied to food is described by Wikipedia as "the act of collecting leftover crops from farmers' fields after they have been commercially harvested or on fields where it is not economically profitable to harvest. Some ancient cultures promoted gleaning as an early form of a welfare system."
Australian site Slow Movement suggests "gleaning and Food recovery as tools to reconnect at the local level."
U.S department of Agriculture published A Citizen's Guide to Food Recovery part of a food recovery and gleaning initiative. It details How Americans can help recover food (Chapter 5), Lessons from USDA AmeriCorps summer of gleaning (Chapter 8).
The introduction highlights 4 most common methods:
- Field Gleaning — The collection of crops from farmers' fields that have already been mechanically harvested or on fields where it is not economically profitable to harvest.
- Perishable Food Rescue or Salvage — The collection of perishable produce from wholesale and retail sources.
- Food Rescue — The collection of prepared foods from the food service industry.
- Nonperishable Food Collection — The collection of processed foods with long shelf lives.
Brian Blake in Gleaning A Harvest For The Needy By Fighting Waste (NPR, January 20, 2011) quotes Linda Tozer of the Society of St Andrew a major 'gleaning' organization' as saying that "96 billion pounds of food goes to waste in this country."
Nearby me, students from School of Environmental and Biological Sciences at Rutgers (NJ) practiced it as illustrated in Gleaning at Giamarese Farms...
(* Chalk board image from Giamarese Farm website)