Histories of Gleaning
Gleaning is not just gathering. For gleaning to be a possibility, there must be
agriculture. There must also be the possibility of surplus and of waste. Each of these
requirements has a history related to the history of field gleaning in California's
Many church and other religious groups come gleaning. Many individuals site scriptures relating to
gleaning. Both the Bible and the Koran make reference to charity, hunger, and gleaning.
Field Gleaning in Salinas Valley
The Salinas Valley is one of the agricultural "breadbaskets" of this country.
Its immensely rich agricultural fields produce hundreds of thousands of tons of
fruits and vegetables that are shipped across the country and around the world.
Yet even in this breadbasket, there is hunger. One of the most diverse projects
to distribute surplus food to the hungry involves gleaning crops from fields
after commercial harvesting is finished, crops that would ordinarily be tilled
under in preparation for the next planting.
Local Backyard and Urban Gleaning Projects
Urban agriculture is making a comeback, with victory gardens popping up in backyards
all over the country.
Urban gleaning projects are also getting more press coverage.
Small Farmer and Rancher Gleaning
Gleaning is finding what's been cast aside and making use of it.
That practice defines many small farmers and ranchers who glean know-how as well as
the equipment and resources for their farms and ranches.
See also: Sustainable Agriculture
Broader Meanings of Gleaning
The terms "gleaning" has been used to characterize practices and movements
as diverse as "freeganism", dumpster diving, re-use-and-repair, and
found art projects.