Grapes of Wrath, Fruit of Philanthropy
January 11, 2010 9:25 AM Subscribe
posted by MonkeyToes (21 comments total)
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My grandparents, who lived through the Great Depression, hung an image of Millet's "The Gleaners"
on their living room wall. I never made the connection between those two things until I started reading about the modern gleaning movement
is the traditional practice of picking over a field after the harvest has been collected. As the University of Maine's Cooperative Extension observes
, "Food recovery is the collection of wholesome food for distribution to the poor and hungry. It follows a basic humanitarian ethic that has been part of societies for centuries. We know that “gleaning,” or gathering after the harvest, goes back at least as far as biblical days. The term “field gleaning” refers to the collection of crops either from farmers’ fields that have already been mechanically harvested or from fields where it is not economically profitable to harvest."
The idea of not letting viable field crops go to rot
after the machines have come through has found new adherents in the 21st century, including the Mid-Atlantic Gleaning Network
, the Society of St. Andrew
, Ag Against Hunger
, the Gleaning Network of Texas
and other organizations.
It's not just for the countryside
, either. Urban gleaning
, including foraging
, can yield tasty results
. The Portland Fruit Tree Project
, for example, holds harvesting parties; half the gleanings go to the harvesters, while the other half is donated to food banks. Other organizations include the Lexington Urban Gleaning Network
, Fallen Fruit (previously)
and North Berkeley Harvest
Interested in organizing a gleaning? Start here
. If you're part of an organization that might be able to donate excess food, have a look at this
. (Companies and organizations that donate food are covered under the Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act
, which protects them from criminal and civil liability http://feedingamerica.org/partners/product-partners/protecting-our-partners.aspx)
As my grandparents said, "Waste not."