Gleaning is the act of collecting leftover crops from farmers’ fields after they have been commercially harvested or on fields where it is not economically profitable to harvest.
Gleaning has, most recently, become a common practice at farmers market too, with local food security organizations and non-profits visiting at the end of the market day to glean “left-over” foods from market vendors. Farmers market gleaning benefits the vendors by providing them with an easy outlet for their surplus, perishable foods, and it benefits the participating organization by allowing them to collect fresh, local food that they then distribute to their community members.
SJFM has had gleaners at the market each season, working with the Portland chapter of Food Not Bombs in 2009, Sisters of the Road in 2010 and AllOne Community Services for the past two seasons. AllOne Community Services “exists to facilitate churches working together to better meet the needs of the community” and organizes six different St. Johns churches to glean at the market on a rotating basis.