Gleaning, One of the Earliest Forms of Hunger Relief, Makes a Comeback
By Alex McKechnie
Office of University Communications
December 16, 2014
Six Drexel students and six members of the local community spent three days gleaning at A.T. Buzby Farm in Woodstown, New Jersey, as part of a new course entitled “Gleaning, Food Security and Agriculture.”
Warped eggplant. Dented zucchini. Too-small squash.
One major area of food waste in America is on farms, where crops that aren’t suitable for supermarket shelves – usually for aesthetic reasons – are left in the fields to rot. In fact, according to the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, Feeding America, more than 6 billion pounds of fruits and vegetables go unharvested or unsold each year.
This past fall as part of a new class entitled “Gleaning, Food Security and Agriculture,” six Drexel students worked alongside six members of the local community to study this phenomenon – and a possible solution. The class focused on the practice of gleaning – gathering leftover crops from a farmer’s field after harvest – and how this time-honored tradition could help prevent farm-based food waste while also fighting hunger in America.
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