On Monday 16th September I made an early start to travel to a gleaning in Sussex, Maynard’s Farm, 22 acres of mostly apples and plums. Volunteers ‘gleaned’ by hand 2,500kg of apples and plums! In July, volunteer gleaners went to a farm near Colchester; on that day we gleaned over 2,400 pounds by hand of cabbages!
So what is gleaning?
The Gleaning Network UK, in conjunction with Feeding the 5000, is an exciting initiative to save the thousands of tonnes of fresh fruit and vegetables that are wasted on UK farms every year, mostly due to being unable to sell on the produce to supermarkets for a variety of reasons. www.feeding5k.org
Gleaning Network UK coordinates teams of volunteers, local farmers and food redistribution charities in order to salvage this fresh, nutritious food and direct it to those that need it most.
The crates of saved produce were loaded into a truck that this time went to FareShare, a charity that has 17 regional depots in the UK, redistributing food to groups in food poverty within our communities. Every day an average of 43,700 people benefit from the service FareShare provides.
I went prepared for all weathers: waterproofs, wellies, woolly hat and gloves. As it turned out, apart from some freak windy hail storms, the weather held good.
This ‘glean’ also had Hugh FW attending, not only to provide lunch for all those involved; he was filming a segment for his River Cottage television series, which will highlight gleaning. Hugh FW created a wonderful……you will have to watch the television episode in October to find out!
Also as a volunteer gleaner was Jenny from Rubies in the Rubble, a social enterprise that does a wonderful job in producing top-notch preserves from produce that would otherwise have been wasted, and employs disadvantaged individuals.
A good day was had by all and we saved an awful lot of produce!
See more at: www.feeding5k.org/gleaning.php