What is gleaning?
Gleaning is the harvesting of produce that would otherwise be wasted. An age-old practice that is even mentioned in the bible!
What is The Gleaning Project?
We work with local growers to harvest produce that is either surplus, outgraded, rejected or unsellable. We then distribute this food to various local community food projects. Through this we are able to both reduce food waste and to help provide nutritionally valuable foods to those who need it. There are many reasons that food may end up wasted on farms and the drivers for these are often found beyond the farmgate further along our food system.
Changes in demand from purchasers can make it hard to find an alternative market for already-grown food, this can happen at short-notice. Planning for poor weather, pests and disease means growers will often have to plant more than they actually need, which can lead to a surplus. Cosmetic requirements (too big, too small, too wonky) can mean an amount of unsaleable food, again this is something which is hard to predict or plan for. Gleaning is a direct social action that helps mitigate the effects of these problems.
If you'd like to sign up to be a gleaning volunteer email: email@example.com
When do we glean?
We aim to let you know at least a week before a gleaning day is happening - keep an eye on our social media, or if you're signed up, on our WhatsApp group! We'll give you all the important details - where it'll be, options for getting there (we can reimburse travel costs), what produce we'll be harvesting and how long we expect to be there on the day. As a climate change and sustainability focused project we are keen to reduce food waste in a way that is responsible and has the least impact. As such, to reduce our transport emissions where possible, when you sign up we will ask if you're able to share transport with other volunteers or if you will need a lift!
On gleaning days:
On the day we'll provide you with all the necessary equipment and show you the best way to harvest. We don't expect any gleaning days will run longer than 10 - 4 and may be shorter depending on how much produce there is to harvest. There's no pressure at all to gather a particular amount individually. Everyone should go at a pace that is comfortable for them. We will always take plenty of breaks for drinks, snacks and lunch!
The Gleaning Network has helped establish over 20 projects like ours and together they have saved over 700 tonnes of food!
What will you need from me?
Most importantly we need to know when, where and what we can harvest, we will double check this when we arrive. We'll need some information on parking and on toilet facilities to pass on to our volunteers. Lastly, we'll ask you if there are any notable or unusual hazards to include in our risk assessment.
Where will the produce go?
Within Dundee we work with both our own community fridge and with the Dundee Community Food Network, we'll distribute gleaned foods amongst these projects. However we are also mindful of sharing the produce with community food projects local to the grower we are gleaning from and will make every effort to seek and provide to these groups too.
What quantity do you need?
We usually say any quantity is worth our while (within reason!). You may be used to thinking in terms of tonnes, but for us even a few hundred kilograms is valuable.
How many people will you be bringing?
How many volunteers we bring will depend on how much food there is to harvest. However we will always confirm numbers and any limits on capacity beforehand and have a good ratio of coordinators to volunteers.
Working with us:
If you're a grower and have surplus, outgraded, rejected or unsellable produce we would like to work with you!
Are you covered if there is an accident on my farm?
We are insured through the NFU for all of our harvesting activities with our volunteers. We carry out risk assessments and consult you on this prior to the day. Volunteers are updated on each glean to carry out our tasks safely.