Gleaning Farm-Fresh Food For Those in Need
Reducing Food Waste and Food Insecurity
A Project of the Foodshed Alliance
What is gleaning?
Gleaning is the act of collecting leftover crops from farmers’ fields after they have been commercially harvested or on fields where it is not economically profitable to harvest.
What is LocalShare?
LocalShare, a program of the nonprofit Foodshed Alliance, is a partnership between farms, volunteers and food pantries. LocalShare recruits volunteers to go to farm to glean what needs to be harvested, everything from apples to zucchini. On the same day, our volunteers deliver the food to a food pantry or soup kitchen for distribution to those in need. In 2015, LocalShare gleaned and delivered more than 33,000 lbs. of fresh local fruit and vegetables.
Where does the food go?
Gleaned food is taken to more than 30 not-for-profit agencies feeding hungry people in Warren, Sussex, Morris and Passaic counties.
Why is this different than what comes from a food bank?
LocalShare distributes only fresh and perishable foods, which it delivers on the day it is received. Food banks typically collect, warehouse, and distribute canned and non-perishable foods to food pantries and soup kitchens.
Why doesn’t the farmer harvest and sell all of his crops?
The farm may have an overabundance of a crop and can’t sell it as his retail outlets. The farm may have already harvested a field but there is food left that is not worth paying staff to harvest. Or the food may be small, misshapen or otherwise not up to the visual standards of the marketplace, yet perfectly edible, nutritious and delicious.
What is food waste?
In the US, we throw away roughly 40 percent of our food supply every year, squandering scarce natural resources and damaging the environment in the process. Food waste occurs across the supply chain: on farms, in restaurants, at supermarkets and in the home.
What is food insecurity?
- Limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate food.
- Limited or uncertain ability to acquire suitable foods in socially acceptable ways.
Who is hungry or food insecure?
- Over 50 million people in the United States live in hungry and food insecure households. More than 16 million of those are children.
- One in six Americans does not have enough food to eat and requires emergency food assistance.
- One in five suburban households face food insecurity.
- One in five children is born into food insecure households.
Are there liability issues in donating food?
Both the federal government and the state of New Jersey have enacted laws to protect food donors. The Federal Children’s Nutrition Assistance Act and the New Jersey Good Samaritan Act provide immunity from liability to those donating food.
I’m considering making a donation. How will my gift be used?
Make your gift to the Foodshed Alliance and note that it is for the LocalShare program. Your gift will help pay for staff and supplies necessary to run the program.