Elliot Darkatsh - Director of Food Procurement
v. gleaned, glean•ing, gleans
To gather grain or other produce left by reapers.
1. To gather grain or produce left behind by reapers.
2. To collect bit by bit
3. To strip (as a field) of the leavings of reapers
Have you ever been gleaning? Ever thought about what that term really means? The definition is listed above. It is the act of picking fruits or vegetables (or grains) that were left behind during the initial harvest.
In its simplest form, it is the act of saving food from being plowed under and going to waste. Often, farmers simply can’t afford to incur the labor, materials and transportation costs to retrieve the “leftovers” – and as a result each season millions of pounds of fresh food is left in the fields.
On Saturday, Feb. 19, more than 40 high school students from Chets Creek Church in Jacksonville got an opportunity to experience the process firsthand when they traveled to Hastings, Fla., to glean broccoli. The majority of them had never been on a farm, or even knew what it meant to ‘glean’ broccoli from a field.
It turned out to be a wonderful experience, and they asked if they could go again!
The opportunity was made possible by Nourishment Network’s partnership with Society of St. Andrew (SOSA) and SOSA’s relationships with local farmers, as well as the beautiful weather we enjoyed that day.
In less than three hours, this group of high school kids picked 2,745 pounds of broccoli (four pallets worth)! Nourishment Network was also able to pick up five bins of cabbage and two bins of citrus from neighbor farms – ultimately providing a full truck of fruits and vegetables to families and individuals experiencing hunger in our north Florida communities.
We are very grateful for those farmers that allow us this opportunity and to the kids that worked so hard and, in the process, created memories that will last a lifetime.
SOSA has gleaning opportunities on most Wednesdays and Saturdays during the growing season, which lasts from November to June. If your group is interested in gleaning, please contact Nourishment Network volunteer coordinator Jessie Sanders at 904.517.5560, firstname.lastname@example.org.
(All photos provided by Jeff Taylor Photography)