Excess Farm Harvests Gleaned to Feed the Hungry (Video)


Image credit: The Perennial Plate

What to do about hunger is a complicated business. While some people are arguing that food banks are part of the problem, others are calling on supermarkets to waste nothing and donate what they can't sell. Some restaurants are even instigating "everybody eats" policies—turning nobody away for lack of funds. In California, one group of activists is helping feed the hungry—and offering an alternative to the often over-processed foods at the food bank—by going direct to the farms. It turns out that most farms have a lot of excess, and that excess can be put to good use.

The Perennial Plate Episode 64: California Gleaning from Daniel Klein on Vimeo.

In the latest episode of The Perennial Plate—the same folks who brought us video of trapping and killing feral pigs, and alternative dairy farming—Daniel and Mirra pay a visit to Northern California. Here, they go vegetable picking with Farm to Pantry, a group of "gleaners" who work with farmers and orchards to harvest excess bounty and distribute it to worthy causes like homeless shelters and rehabilitation clinics.

We have, of course, posted about gleaning excess food before, including organizations that turn uneaten backyard fruit into donations, but Daniel and Mirra's video is an excellent illustration—not just of how gleaning can help reduce waste—but why waste occurs in the first place. The fact is that farming is an imprecise business, and uncertainty is a major player. Many farmers will always plant more than they can harvest in most years, providing insurance against crop losses, drought etc—and allowing them to pick the best, most harvestable crops for market.

That leaves a lot of healthy, nutritious produce untouched. Farm to Pantry makes sure it doesn't go to waste.

More from the Perennial Plate
How to Become a Farmer, and Why Drought is Good (Video)
Off-Grid Farming in the Caves of Utah
Trapping and Killing Feral Pigs is Disturbing, But Is It Green?
Hunting and Eating Roadkill in Minnesota (Video)
A Gulf Fisherman Struggles for Economic Survival (Video)
Growing Oyster Mushrooms, and a Recipe for Vegetarian Terrine (Video)
When Cows Retire: An Alternative Approach to Dairy Farming (Video)

Tags: California | Economics | Local Food | Poverty | United States | Zero Waste

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