Scenes from a recent Saturday afternoon glean at the farmer’s market. Gleaning is a practice that goes way back; in fact, it’s mentioned in the Book of Ruth. Yup, Ruth was an OG Gleaner. Anyway, the custom was to take the remains of a harvest and use it primarily for the poor who had little or no means of supporting themselves. These disenfranchised people were often the widows and the elderly who had lost their husbands or relatives due to death or abandonment and had no other way to survive. So I work with as a Glean Team Leader for a wonderful nonprofit called Food Forward, and we go into farmers markets and ask the vendors if they would like to donate any of their unsold produce to be given to underprivileged families. So awesome.
Anyway, this particular Saturday I only had one helper, but together we two women gathered over 400 pounds of fresh produce to be distributed to underserved communities.
One of the forms that systemic racism takes is in the lack of access to healthy food in underserved — primarily black and brown — communities (food deserts). This affects the mental and physical health and overall quality of life of these communities; imagine if your primary food options are fast food and mini mart snacks. Food Forward recovers food so that it can be placed in banks for people to be able to pick up throughout the week. I love this org because not only does it give food to people in need — it gives these people the good stuff. And we should all have access to the good stuff, right?