No there isn’t a typo in the title, gleaning is a real technique that helps minimize food waste and hunger. What is it? It’s a practice, used for hundreds of years, that seeks to reduce the amount of food that is wasted because it is not visually appealing. Gleaners harvest the crops that are not used by farmers and deliver them to those in need.
Linda Trozer, a member of the Society of St. Andrew, explains the unbelievable reality of agricultural food waste in the U.S. today. Food is wasted at a disturbingly high rate, “The statistics are that 96 billion pounds of food are left — this is pre-consumer food — to go to waste in this country.”
What does this have to do with the average American family? The answer is food deserts. Millions of Americans are living in these areas that are lacking in cost-friendly, nutritious food.
By throwing away edible food for superficial reasons, farmers prevent access to fresh fruits and veggies for thousands of Americans and contribute to the food desert epidemic. Naked Juice produced an interesting documentary about food deserts and their effect on American neighborhoods.
Gleaning provides an excellent solution to the this problem. If it sounds like something you might want to participate in, check out local organizations such as San Diego Roots and Crop Swap for upcoming events. Whether you are a farmer or a novice gardener, anyone can play a role in reducing food waste by gleaning or distributing gleaned produce.
If you want to learn more about the gleaning process and other food waste reduction practices,check out our past blog about gleaning and I Love A Clean San Diego’s recycling website. We can all be lean green gleaning machines!