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Gleaning, One of the Earliest Forms of Hunger Relief, Makes a Comeback

By Alex McKechnie
Office of University Communications

December 16, 2014

 

Gleaning, One of the Earliest Forms of Hunger Relief, Makes a Comeback

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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