No crop left behind: NH Gleans harvests for food equity, access
Posted On: August 28, 2018
If a hardworking group of volunteers has anything to say about it, there will be no crop left behind in the fields and markets of New Hampshire.
In a small state where one in 10 residents grapples with food insecurity, these foragers span the natural land from Portsmouth to Keene in an effort to get fresh produce into the hands of those who need it most.
That’s more than 469,123 pounds of fruit and vegetables since 2013, to be exact, streamlined onto the shelves of pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and schools, all handpicked by a nonprofit network of organizations called NH Gleans. At its crux is the ambition to increase access to unprocessed, native food for low-income residents.
Gleaning, the ancient practice whose participants are known as “gleaners,” is the act of gathering leftover crops after a commercial harvest has taken place. Partnering with local farms and farmers markets, the gleaners harvest produce that would have otherwise gone to waste. This includes the unwanted apples and peaches, an excess kale crop, or cauliflower about to be wiped out by a heatwave.