Every year in the United States between 40% and 50% of all food that is produced and ready for harvest is wasted. That means that for every square mile of corn that is grown, every gallon of milk that is produced or animal that is raised an identical one ends up in the landfill. Not only is this wasteful but it places an heavy and unnecessary burden on the planet.
Food production has one of the largest harmful impacts on the environment through fertilizer and pesticide run off, soil erosion and emission of green house gases. A recent U.N. study found that livestock alone accounts for more green house gas emissions than the entire global transportation sector combined. In the mean time many of our neighbors who are dependent on food shelters for their meals struggle to find fresh, whole and healthy food on their plates.
Harvesting Hands is a volunteer based program that works to address both of these issues in Kentucky’s local food system by gathering (or gleaning) fresh excess produce and turning it into a valuable resource for our neighbors in need. We glean from both farmer’s markets and local farms.
Through this action we not only help to provide healthy food to those in need but we also honor the fossil fuel resources that we used in producing the food.
We are always looking for individuals that would like to volunteer and lend their hands to this valuable work. Gleaning is also a great way for communities to work together in service to support those in need. If you or your community would like to know about what opportunities there are to get involved please email Aaron Tornes at aaron @ kentuckyipl.org.
In the video below Aaron gives and on the ground look at gleaning from a local farm.