Gleaning is an ancient practice which consists in allowing third parties to collect the produce remaining in the fields after harvest (potatoes, carrots, etc.). Another form, grapping, consists in recovering fruit from the trees (grapes, apples, etc.). The practice of retrieving food from rubbish bins that has been thrown away, but which is perfectly edible, is also common.
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Nowadays, modern forms of gleaning have emerged to fight against waste and facilitate access to food. In parallel to the older practices, which are still ongoing in some agricultural areas, urban gleaning versions have also emerged.
Spotlight: The Freegan Movement One example is "Freeganism" which, among other things, consists in retrieving healthy food that has been discarded by supermarkets, restaurants, etc. This technique is often referred to as Dumpster diving. The principle of this approach, which is generally based on networks of mutual aid, is to combine free access together with a vegan diet, thus excluding any animal products. Not all freegans are strict vegetarians, however. Some would rather eat found meat, dairy and eggs than let food go to waste.
Freeganism is a growing movement; from New York to London through to Amsterdam and Barcelona, it is practiced by many people, young and old, that are critical towards waste and over-consumption.
Links and other sources
- Freegan info : http://freegan.info
- The Gleaning Network UK: description and video on this new initiative to save the thousands of tonnes of fresh fruit and vegetables that are wasted on UK farms every year.
- How to dumpster dive: http://www.wikihow.com/Dumpster-Dive
- In this article, learn more about the freegan philosophy, freegan techniques and the historical precedent of gleaning.