Gleaning is the age-old agricultural practice of collecting excess food for the hungry. For centuries, the edges of crops were left in the field for the poor to harvest. Over the years, versions of that practice remained standard in many cultures as a way of providing food for hungry people.
Today in America, we waste literally tons of excess food every year, either because it doesn’t fit high retail standards and nobody considers it worth harvesting or due to other inefficiencies in the food system. We, like those who came before us, have a responsibility as people of faith to nurture God’s abundance and to ensure that people who need help in our areas have enough food — and we have food available. Good, fresh food full of nutrition. Food that rots and gets thrown away if it isn’t recovered and made available to hungry people.
The Society of St. Andrew (SoSA) works with volunteers throughout the U.S. to help reclaim food that becomes available for poor people through the food system and deliver it to food banks and food pantries. In this class Michael Binger, SoSA’s Regional Director of the Carolinas, explains how gleaning works in the twenty-first century food system. He discusses the biblical foundations of this call and explains how and why people can work with SoSA or organize independently in our communities to get excess produce to those who need it.
Congregations can use this course to start learning how and why to organize groups to glean fresh food from local farms for local food banks — an activity with which kids can be actively involved and which does not require steady participation; people can join when they are available. Individuals can use it to figure out how to start gleaning with their family or on their own, from their own gardens or in local farms and urban gardens.
This course is ideal for anyone interested in serving the hungry. For a preview, please click below.