Gleaning Network UK is an exciting new initiative to save the thousands of tonnes of fresh fruit and vegetables that are wasted on UK farms every year.
Farmers across the country often have no choice but to leave tonnes of their crops unharvested and get ploughed back in the soil. These crops cannot reach the market either because they fail to meet the retail strict cosmetic standards or because of overproduction. At the same time, 5.8 million people suffer from deep poverty in the UK and cannot afford a decent diet, and this number is on the rise.
Gleaning Network UK coordinates teams of volunteers, local farmers and food redistribution charities in order to salvage this fresh, nutritious food and direct it to those that need it most.
Gleaning Network UK is fast expanding to become a national project. In 2013, the Gleaning Network already gleaned approximately 48 tonnes of produce, equal to over 200,000 meals, with over 200 volunteers across 18 gleaning days. New hubs sprung up in Manchester, Bristol, Brighton, Cambridge, London and Kent. Apples, pears, plums, strawberries, cauliflower, cabbages, lettuces, pumpkins and parsnips are just some of the produce already gleaned. On one gleaning day alone on 9th November 2013, over 11 tonnes of pumpkins were saved from waste on a farm in Southampton. In 2014, we plan to do far more.
Are you an individual and want to become a modern day gleaner? Fill in the form below and we will let you know when there's a gleaning day near you.
Are you a farmer with surplus produce or a redistribution charity? Gleaning Network UK are appealing to farmers across the UK to join in and allow volunteer â€˜gleanersâ€™ to harvest their unwanted produce for charity.