ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Gleaning - The Resurrection of an Old Practice

Updated on March 5, 2012
The Gleaners. Jean-Franois Millet. 1857
The Gleaners. Jean-Franois Millet. 1857

In biblical times, the Jewish people were required by law to leave the gleanings in their fields for the old, poor, widowed, children and hungry travelers to gather. Gleanings are the produce left over after the first harvest. In many cases, it is not profitable to harvest a field a second time; so, the produce would have been left to rot in the field if not for the gleaning law. Those gleaning the fields did not need to ask permission of the landowner. After the first harvest, it became their right to glean the fields for useable produce.

The gleaning law helped add to the personal esteem of the individual poor or hungry. They did not have to beg anyone for food or money to buy food – it was their right to enter the fields and gather what they needed for their personal use.

Many cultures have promoted gleaning as part of their welfare system. Farmers have produce removed from their fields before it rots; and, the needy have access to fresh, wholesome food. In some cases, the farmers were required to leave a border of unharvested produce around their fields for the needy to collect.

In Nineteenth century England gleaning was a legal right for cottagers. In fact, the right to glean was taken so seriously that in some small villages the sexton would often ring a church bell at 8:00 a.m. and again at 7:00 p.m. to tell the gleaners when to begin and end work.

Today, the practice of gleaning is experiencing a resurgence. People are realizing how much food is going to waste that, with a little bit of organization and effort, could be collected and used to alleviate hunger in their local area.

In actuality, food that is gleaned is usually more nutritious than food we purchase in the supermarkets. Food in supermarkets can be a week or more away from picking allowing some of their nutrients to be lost; while, gleaned food is usually distributed within 2-3 days making it fresher also.

Gleaning can be accomplished in a number of ways:

  1. When a field has been harvested by the farmer, he calls the gleaning agency nearest him.
  2. Collection of food from supermarkets that would be thrown away; but, are still within date.
  3. Suburban gleaning: homeowners who can’t, won’t or are unable to pick their own fruit, call when the fruit trees in their yard are ready to be picked. If homeowners find they have planted more vegetables than they can use, call the gleaners.
  4. Sometimes, abandoned properties have fruit trees.
  5. In British Columbia, where I live, we have blackberry brambles growing wild everywhere for the harvesting. Many places have similar free-for-the-picking bonanzas.

Here is the story of Abundance, a suburban gleaning group from Sheffield, England.

Daniele Rinaudo is the organizer for the south Sheffield branch of Abundance, a voluntary organization that picks unwanted fruit and vegetables from the city's gardens and public spaces. The majority of the food harvested is given to projects such as Sure Start children's centers and Salvation Army shelters for homeless people.

"I was scared of heights before I started doing this," says Rinaudo. "Going picking was quite a drastic way to face that fear, but now I love the climbing."

The best, most appetizing fruit is given away whole and the less appetizing is transformed into chutney, jam and juice. Some fruit is always left for the owners of the trees; although, some are suspicious of the fruit from their own backyards. While the fruit is delicious, at its nutritional peak, it is not aesthetically pleasing; and, would never match supermarket standards. Hence, the hesitancy to eat.

The irony is that many of the tree owners Abundance deals with give their home-grown fruit (usually apples) away; and, buy apples from a supermarket. The conditioning of so many years of supermarket shopping has influenced people as to what a good apple (or other piece of fruit) should look like; and, are not willing try apples that do not live up to this standard.

Abundance has an educational element to its philosophy as they reconnect locals with a plentiful source of local, fresh and seasonal foods.

Gleaning is definitely one part of the solution to alleviating world hunger. Check out your area to see what is available close at hand. The gleaners always receive a portion of what is gleaned if desired; so, it is a wonderful way of giving back, helping others and getting some really fresh produce on your own table.

S.H.A.R.E. - a gleaning project in the US.

News story regarding gleaning

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • pippap profile imageAUTHOR

      pippap 

      3 years ago from Surrey, BC

      I really like that. What a wonderful way to give back.

    • Susan Trump profile image

      Susan Trump 

      3 years ago from San Diego, California

      Nice to know of this. In Santa Cruz people put extra vegetables on their front steps for others to take. Lovely idea.

    • pippap profile imageAUTHOR

      pippap 

      3 years ago from Surrey, BC

      There are still some gleaners today; but, they are few and far between. So much edible nutritious produce sits in the fields or on the trees and rots because it is financially cheaper to lose this small harvest than it is to pick ALL of it. This is where gleaners could come in. If the gleaners have no use for the produce themselves, it can be donated to food banks, seniors, single mothers, the working poor...the list is endless. Gleaning, a practise for all ages!

    • profile image

      johnmacnab 

      3 years ago

      Thank you for this Hub pippap. That is the first time in my long life that I've heard of the gleaning laws in Jerusalem, and I think it is a wonderful idea.

    • D.A.L. profile image

      Dave 

      9 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      It is really sickening the food that is wasted when so many people are starving in this world. Very informative hub I hope it helps to make the powers that be wake up to the fact, a lot can be done for little expenditure.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)