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8 Ways to Join the Local Food Movement :: Glean Those Fields Clean

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photo of gleaners

Glean Those Fields Clean

A lot of perfectly good food is left to rot in farm fields and under fruit and nut trees. With a bit of work, you can gather a group to “glean” this free food, providing fresh, nutritious food to your community.

To glean in your area, talk to farmers, gardeners, and orchard owners. Explain your purpose, share a copy of federal “Good Samaritan” law, which protects them from liability, and ask for written permission to glean.

Recruit gleaners. Family, friends, students, and members of your faith community are potential volunteers. You can also put a notice on craigslist, bulletin boards, at farmers markets, or in the local paper.

Contact food banks, shelters, and other facilities to check on their needs, and to arrange delivery times.

On gleaning day, bring collection baskets and buckets, snacks, water, and other necessities that will ensure a successful expedition.

As the day ends, gather your freshly harvested food, thank the landowner, distribute something to each gleaner, and leave the land in better condition than you found it.

—Kim Nochi

Source: University of Maine Cooperative Extension

Sarah van Gelder, Anne Lovejoy, Kim Nochi, and Heather Purser wrote pieces for this article as part of Food for Everyone, the Spring 2009 issue of YES! Magazine. Sarah is the Executive Editor of YES! Magazine. Photo of Sarah van Gelder
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