THE FARMPLATE BLOG – Sharing The Harvest: A Lesson In Food Recovery


Sharing The Harvest: A Lesson In Food Recovery

Natalie DiBlasio, Oct 14, 2011

The transition from summer to autumn means a mix of hot and cold days, beautiful foliage and a unique opportunity to fight hunger. The change of harvesting seasons means surplus crops, and there are a few tactics currently in use to make sure those crops get to those who need them.

Gleaning refers to the collection of crops either from farmers’ fields that have already been mechanically harvested or from fields where it is not economically profitable to harvest, due to low market prices, according to Slow Movement. Food collected during gleaning is commonly distributed to food pantries, school cafeterias or other places with a needy population.

The Vermont Foodbank, the state’s largest hunger-relief organization, is currently in its fourth season of their community-based gleaning model. The program encourages, accepts and coordinates volunteers to harvest produce from farms before it is distributed to the Foodbank’s partners, according to The Vermont Cynic.

The Gleaning Network links farmers who have crops that are edible but not marketable with those who distribute food to the needy through the work of volunteer gleaners, according to the Mid-Atlantic Gleaning Network. Annually, the network provides more than 3 million pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables to hungry people.

Aside from gleaning, food recovery happens in other ways including perishable food rescue/salvagenon-perishable food collection, and rescue of prepared food, according to Slow Movement, which defines these practices as:

  • Perishable food rescue/salvage is carried out from wholesale and retail outlets. In some instances, food recovery applies to the produce that is riper than is appropriate for transport to retail outlets.
  • Non-perishable food collection is the collection of processed foods that are non-perishable. These are usually collected from manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers.
  • Prepared food rescue refers to food collected from the food service industry, such as restaurants, caterers, hotels and other commercial kitchens.


October 11: At the request of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Marshals seized food products held at the food storage and processing facility of Dominguez Foods of Washington, Inc., in Zillah, Washington, on September 30, 2011. The seized products had been subject to a detention order issued by FDA on September 2, 2011, following an FDA inspection of the facility that found evidence of widespread and active rodent and insect infestation in the facility’s warehouse and processing area. FDA

October 12: Missouri prisoners have grown more than 50 tons of fruits and vegetables that have been donated to food pantries around the state. The Department of Corrections says this year’s harvest was significantly higher than last year’s, when the agency donated 29 tons of produce through its Restorative Justice Garden Program.STLtoday

October 13: Nearly 150 farm-to-consumer marketing projects will receive funding under the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP), marking a $9.2 million investment to support direct marketing and to increase consumer access to healthy food, much of it in food deserts and other low-income areas. USDA

October 13: Target announced Thursday that it will sell only sustainable, traceable fish by 2015. In 2010, Target stopped selling farmed salmon, Chilean sea bass and orange roughy due to various sustainability issues. It currently sells 50 different brands of fish certified by either the Marine Stewardship Council or the Global Aquaculture AllianceLA Times

October 14: American Farmland Trust’s Dine Out for Farms™ is a national, week-long event that brings together restaurants and consumers to support a sustainable future for America’s farms. From October 16 to 22, participating restaurants across the country will educate diners about the importance of farms and raise funds to save the land that sustains us. American Farmland Trust

October 14: The European Union is considering a roughly 75 percent cut in funding for a program that helps feed 18 million of its poorest citizens. CBS


October 9: The New Hampshire Food Bank is asking hunters to share their fall harvest with the needy through the “Hunt for the Hungry’’ program. Last year, the program took in nearly 2,200 pounds of donated deer, bear, moose and other game meat for distribution to the needy.

October 12: A group of undergraduates at Harvard are pushing the school Dining Services division to change to all cage-free eggs. The campaign has achieved some notoriety through the website, where one of the organizers has collected more than 6,900 signatures asking the school to go all cage-free. Examiner

October 13: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) announced today two grants totaling $165,555 for the Green Mountain Farm Direct and the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont to expand access to locally produced food for Vermont seniors, low-income families and others. VTDigger

October 13: Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy says he’s planning to introduce legislation to make it a federal crime for people to mislabel products as containing maple

Photo credit: Jen Robinson

Natalie DiBlasio studies public communication at the University of Vermont and is the editor-in-chief of the school’s newspaper The Vermont Cynic. Natalie has written for publications including USA TODAY and the Burlington Free Press, and has a keen interest in local food.

Posted on October 14th, by Natalie DiBlasio in FarmPlate News Fare Blog.
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