Glean Kentucky gathers and redistributes excess fresh fruits and vegetables to nourish Kentucky’s hungry.
Glean Kentucky (pronounced glēn kən-ˈtə-kē) was founded in 2010 by three individuals seeking to attack two problems: food waste and hunger. Recognizing that excess produce presented an opportunity to serve the large number of people needing food, we explored creative and effective ways to connect the two.
By gleaning (aka, gathering) excess produce from farms, orchards, grocery stores, farmers markets and home gardens, Glean Kentucky reduces local food waste and provides fruits and vegetable for more than 100 feeding programs. Glean Kentucky produce is never sold and is intended only for members of our community facing food insecurity. Since our inception, we have served as a vital link between local sources of food and dozens of feeding programs. We glean nearly a thousand times a year and yet we’ve just scratched the surface of diverting wasted food. As Glean Kentucky’s network of food sources and partners continues to grow, we’re expanding our reach across Central Kentucky.
We understand that hunger and food waste may look different in different parts of the state, and Glean Kentucky will have to adapt our effort to suit community needs. However, no matter where we are and what our gleaning efforts look like, we’re committed by operating under a set of core values.
Hunger & Food Waste
Two Problems: One Solution
Of the more than 4 million residents of Kentucky, over 750,000 (one in six) were classified as food-insecure in 2014. In 2010, over 100,000 Central Kentucky residents lived in areas designated as food deserts by the USDA. These statistics indicate that a large number of Kentuckians struggle to obtain enough food to maintain a healthy lifestyle – obstacles including low income, poor health and lack of proximity to food sources contribute to various levels of food-insecurity for tens of thousands of members of our community.
All the while, studies estimate that up to 40 percent of food produced in the United States is never consumed but ends up in the landfill. Glean Kentucky’s founders saw that Kentucky’s food system didn’t have the infrastructure in place to get excess food from point A (growers and grocers) to point B (hungry bellies), giving birth to our work.
How Glean Kentucky Helps
Glean Kentucky bridges the gap between programs working with food-insecure populations and sources of excess fresh fruits and vegetables. Every day, our volunteers pick up produce that can’t be sold but is otherwise perfectly edible and deliver it to one of over 100 partner recipient sites in the communities where we serve. Glean Kentucky is neither a food producer nor a food preparer but a vital link between the two. Many of these recipient sites have limited budgets and can’t afford to purchase the fresh fruit and vegetables needed to feed the people they serve, making Glean Kentucky’s work important to increasing the nutritional profile of their meals.