Interest in gleaning as a solution to food waste and food insecurity is at an all-time high as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic’s shake up of local food systems. Glean Kentucky, a Central Kentucky-based non-profit, has answered the call, writing, printing, and distributing a Guide to encourage communities across the state to begin gleaning.
The Gleaning Field Guide provides information on the history of gleaning, data about food waste and food insecurity in Kentucky, and additional resources regarding legal protections for gleaners in Kentucky and the rest of the United States. It also offers strategies for building and maintaining relationships between sources of fresh produce and the agencies who need it, as well as for recruiting and retaining volunteer gleaners to sustain this work.
“As our work has grown over the last ten years, we’ve been contacted by community leaders throughout the state who are interested in bringing this model to their part of Kentucky,” Ben Southworth, Glean Kentucky’s Program Director, explains. “Glean Kentucky is currently unable to support this work directly throughout the entire commonwealth, so we’re providing the Field Guide as a resource to those looking to replicate our model in their community.”
In July, Glean Kentucky launched a digital version of the Guide on its website (www.gleanky.org/field-guide). With financial support from Toyota Motor Manufacturing of Kentucky and Kroger’s Zero Hunger Zero Waste Foundation, Glean Kentucky was able to print 250 copies of the Guide. This week, copies will be distributed to the Cooperative Extension Office and Main Library in each of Kentucky’s 120 counties.
“We are grateful to join TMMK in their commitment to build community resilience and Kroger in their commitment to create communities free of hunger and waste,” Glean Kentucky’s Executive Director, Stephanie Wooten says. “We are hopeful that this Guide will empower communities outside of our current service area to take action and that we will be able to join them in this critical work soon.”
Glean Kentucky is a nonprofit based in Central Kentucky that works to gather and redistribute excess fresh fruits and vegetables to nourish Kentucky’s hungry. Glean Kentucky does this through partnerships with dozens of farms, farmers markets, orchards, and grocery stores, allowing the rescue and delivery of over a quarter-million pounds of fresh produce to over a hundred feeding agencies each year. Any questions regarding Glean Kentucky or the Field Guide may be directed to Glean Kentucky’s Program Director, Ben Southworth, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.