Gleaning is the collection of surplus food crops from commercial growers and market gardens; even from homeowner’s backyard gardens and their fruit trees. It is estimated that about one half of all food produced ends up wasted. In our region alone thousands upon thousands of pounds of produce goes to waste each year. Just imagine the benefits to all of our communities if we could re-direct this excess harvest from spoilage to use in our kitchens.
Community Gleaning Programs are typically organized so that volunteer teams of pickers are called out to harvest crops offered by a donor. The harvest is then shared three ways between the pickers, the donor, and charitable organizations. For the past few years a local gleaning program has been offered by the Salvation Army. This year, 2015, the Food Action Society is working toward building a sustainable gleaning model for our community. Please contact us if you are interesting in helping with this project.
Speaking of community, we can be very proud of the North Okanagan Valley Gleaners Society which gleans large volumes of surplus crops and donated foods to process into dehydrated soup mixes and apple chips for shipment to impoverished nations. They have access to a large former ginseng dehydration plant in Lavington and are doing test runs of product to help out the food insecure in our community as well. Volunteers are always welcomed.