Modern Day Gleaning

Modern Day Gleaning

Modern Day Gleaning


I’m Lacy Gray with Washington Ag Today.


The Blue Mountain Action Council in Walla Walla is a community action program meeting the needs of low-income residents in Southeastern Washington who are underserved or have certain needs that aren’t being met. BMAC also has a food distribution center. Laura Engelman, AmeriCorps Vista Gleaning Coordinator for BMAC explains.


ENGELMAN: We distribute out to food banks and food pantries around the Walla Walla Valley and then as far as Pomeroy and Lewiston.


Gleaning has a history that goes clear back to biblical times.


ENGELMAN: That’s exactly right. Gleaning is a term that is mentioned in the bible and historically it’s meant for farmers to leave a portion of their fields for the poor and the hungry to come and harvest for themselves.


Engelman explains that in the modern age gleaning has a similar concept.


ENGELMAN: Farmers or gardeners will either set aside a portion of their field, or garden, or orchard for volunteers to come in and glean the fields. Or they will call us if they have reached the end of their harvest season and they have produce still left in the field that’s either on the verge of being overripe - it’s still edible, but unmarketable. Sometimes it will have a blemish so they can’t sell it, but it’s still perfectly edible. Or if they have a surplus and they don’t have either the labor to pick the crop, or it’s not cost effective for them to pick it, they will call us and we bring out volunteers and we harvest whatever has been designated.


Tomorrow Engelman will explain what types of crops are usually gleaned, where that food is distributed, and how growers interested in the program can become involved.


Thanks for listening. That’s Washington Ag Today.


I’m Lacy Gray on the Ag Information Network.

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