Online Program

Gleaning to combat food insecurity: The considerations and implications behind an organized gleaning effort

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 9:10 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.

Kaveri Roy, RN, DNP-PHNL, CHPN, Department of Nursing, MGH Institute of Health Professions, Boston, MA
Laurie Caldwell, BA, MBA, Boston Area Gleaners, Waltham, MA
One of the main challenges faced by families and individuals who are food insecure is a lack of access to healthy food, especially fresh produce.  Gleaning, collecting farmers’ surplus crops, is one method for alleviating this challenge and providing sustainable access to fresh vegetables and fruit for people in need.  Farmers typically produce a 5 to 20% surplus crop yield every year to insure against crop loss.  The amount of surplus depends on many factors, such as market value, weather and disease.  For regions of the United States with smaller, localized farming, gleaning can be an ideal way to rescue these surplus crops and distribute them to those who need it.  The Boston Area Gleaners is a Massachusetts-based 501(c)(3) organization working with over 60 eastern Massachusetts farmers, gleaning and distributing their surplus crops to over 450 local shelters and food pantries.  Founded in 2004, the Gleaners have rescued a total of 475,000 pounds of surplus crop yield, or 1.9 million 4 oz. servings of fruits and vegetables for low-income residents.  By successfully building relationships with small farmers, distribution agencies, local volunteers and donors, the Gleaners have been able to increase their reach throughout eastern Massachusetts.  Since its inception, the organization has found that gleaning provides a win-win-win situation for all involved- farmers, gleaners and recipients.   

This presentation will focus on the considerations and logistics behind starting a gleaning effort, as well as the positive impact of gleaning on food insecurity if incorporated into local farming culture.

Learning Areas:

Environmental health sciences
Other professions or practice related to public health
Program planning
Public health or related nursing
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Define the concept of gleaning. Explain the role of surplus in current farming methods. Discuss ways to utilize surplus to to feed populations in need. Describe the facets of organized gleaning. Identify core characteristics needed in forming a gleaning organization/effort. Discuss implications of gleaning in food relief and in public health legislation.

Keyword(s): Food Security, Sustainability

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an RN with a Doctorate in Nursing Leadership and Public Health, with a focus on food access and sustainability. I am also on the Board of Directors for the Boston Area Gleaners and work directly with the organization both in the field and as part of the organizational structure.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

Back to: 4029.0: Food and the Environment