What is gleaning?
Gleaning is the act of allocating and collecting a little extra harvest for those in need. Wikipedia explains the long and interesting history of gleaning, noting that it is a practice that has existed for thousands of years.
Today, gleaning can help provide fresh and local fruits and vegetables to local food banks and those in need. Several community groups offer ways for everyone to get involved in gleaning .
Here are three quick ways, even non-green thumbs can help by gleaning fruit trees:
- If you have a fruit tree, let a gleaning organization know about your tree. You can pick the fruit yourself to donate to a gleaning organization, or have some volunteers come to your tree to pick the fruit
- If you don’t have a fruit tree, plant a fruit tree in your yard. After time, it will be ready to harvest (see #1)
- If you don’t have a yard, volunteer with a gleaning organization to help pick fruit around your neighborhood
Get started with a gleaning group in your area. Here are two Seattle gleaning groups:
Seattle: Lettuce Link
West Seattle: Gleanit.org
“You should always to talk to people who are different from you.
Because when you get to know someone, you can’t kill that person.
And when you can’t kill that person, you can’t let your government kill that person either.”
Sue McGann, Lettuce Link’s Marra Farm Coordinator, told us (a group from Seattle Works) that story before we started our Saturday volunteering at Marra Farm. Pretty heavy thought for a day spent mostly weeding artichoke beds. But Marra Farm is doing a lot more than just growing vegetables.
Marra Farm started out as an Italian family farm in the early 1900’s. When the Marra family stopped working the land, they gave it to the city, under one condition – it remain land for community farming forever. And it is – with the help of many non-profits and volunteers. Nearby schoolchildren learn have their own little plots, families grow their own food and community members take the harvest to local food banks.
Did I mention Marra Farm is located about 20 minutes from downtown Seattle? There are many opportunities to learn about the farm and get involved with the many organizations that support it. I hope to back at the farm soon!