Illustrations by the amazing Lulu Heal. Hover on the images for more information.
Why We Glean
There are so many reasons why we glean... not just because it literally saves tons of food from going to waste. It provides important, nutritious food to organisations that feed the most vulnerable people in our society. A study published by The Food Foundation revealed that in the UK in 2014, more than 8 million people lived in households that struggled to put food on the table, more than half regularly going whole days without eating. This doesn't need to happen when there is perfectly good food available to be gleaned.
Gleaning can help alleviate food poverty whilst helping to tackle the climate crisis by reducing food waste. It is estimated that up to 2.5million tons of food goes to waste in the fields every year. Gleaning is not the solution to farm level food waste, but it can be a vital life line to those most in need of fresh fruit and vegetables in the meantime.
One of MUD's objectives is to provide valuable volunteering experiences, giving people a sense of purpose and achievement and the opportunity to improve their physical and mental wellbeing. Gleaning provides all of this and more!
Our gleaning programme was funded by Wrap in 2020 and R4GM and SUEZ in 2022. We are currently looking for funders to help our gleaning operation. If you are interested in being part of our mission to stop food waste at farm level, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The North West Gleaning Network
Jo began coordinating the North West Gleaning Network in 2017 as part of her role with Feedback Global. This time was spent organising gleans, building important relationships with farmers, growers, producers, distributors and beneficiaries and promoting the many benefits of gleaning.
Since forming MUD, Jo has trained numerous other groups how to glean, in partnership with Feedback and using their incredible Gleaning Handbook. This has formed the basis of the North West Gleaning Network and we hope to grow it further. You can read more about a typical gleaning day with Jo here. And here she is being interviewed by BBC Radio 4 whilst on site at a glean.
Mike has been gleaning since 2018 after a brief stint working for Feedback Global. He was trained by Jo and has been helping her coordinate the network and gleans every year ever since. He took part in a talk about MUD and The Gleaning Network with Jo in 2022 at the Groentmarked Harvest Festival in Copenhagen.