As I enter the fruit harvesting season in my own garden, with many apples and plums ripening on the trees, I thought this would be a good time to talk about the issue of food waste. I always aim to make the most of all the produce I grow. But every year, an abundance of good food goes to waste in home gardens and on farms. This is a global issue. And organised gleaning is an important part of the solution.
Gleaning is all about picking and making use of the good food that would otherwise be wasted. Organisations around the world are springing up to help reduce food waste and to distribute food that would have been wasted to those in need.
Getting involved with an existing gleaning group in your area is one great way to do something to tackle food waste and inequalities in your region. There are gleaning networks in the US, and in the UK. If there is not already a gleaning group operating where you live, you might even be able to get involved in setting one up to collect fruits from home gardens with homeowners who do not have the time, and from farms and commercial orchards.
Informal gleaning in your neighbourhood could also be a way to help. If you see a fruit tree in your area which is not harvested, why not reach out politely to ask whether you can help?
If you have your own fruit tree and don’t have time for the harvest yourself, see if you can reach out to others who might be able to pick and make use of the harvest.
Let’s get together to make food waste a thing of the past. Together, our actions, however small, can add up to make a big difference.