Friday, January 21, 2011

What can you Glean?

Gleaning means to gather grain left behind by reapers; to collect bit by bit. In the U.S. up to 96 billion pounds of food goes unharvested.

"On U.S. farms, gleaning is making a comeback, as a national anti-hunger organization has turned to the ancient practice to help feed the poor. And it also gives farmers a way to use produce that would otherwise be wasted.

In the Old Testament, farmers are told not to pick their fields and vineyards clean, but instead to leave the edges for orphans, widows and travelers. In the modern day, gleaning is more about preventing would-be waste.

Food gets left in the field for all kinds of reasons. Two big ones are that mechanical harvesting misses a lot — and sometimes the crops aren't pretty enough for supermarket shelves."

Gleaning, which involves finding something useful which has been passed over, has appeal in other areas of life too: finding the good in a person, discovering a simple beauty in life, preserving something fragile in nature, celebrating the moments which can bring wholeness...

What can you glean?

Image: The Gleaners, Jean-Francoise Millett 1857, depicts peasant women gleaning a field for leftover grains. Article via NPR.