Penny Bullock writes about her journey into gleaning and how she ended up re-homing vegetables.


“I’ve had the pleasure of gleaning twice now and I am very much looking forward to going again”.

“It wasn’t something that I had heard of until my neighbour mentioned it to me and invited me along. The idea of harvesting unused, unwanted crops and re-homing them to food banks and food clubs really appealed to me and it also turned out to be marvelous fun. Being outdoors, meeting like-minded people, feeling useful and like you’ve made a small difference was a wonderful way to spend a few hours”.

“So I turned up, met my fellow gleaners, listened to a passionate farmer talk about his crops, was given my equipment and told what to do, how to do it and then we were off”.

“That day we were harvesting beautiful cabbages and cavolo nero. We managed to pick enough to fill three cars and hopefully lots of stomachs too. There was lots of laughter, cabbage based jokes, tea-breaks, cake and a bit of hard work in-between”.

“These days we are so separated from the production of our food. We pick it up in the supermarket, wrapped in plastic, and don’t really give much thought as to whether we will use it or throw it away. But stand in a field, surrounded as far as the eye can see by cabbages that no one wants, and you realise that we need to better understand the food chain. We need to understand how our food grows, how precious it is, and how we should value it and not waste it”.

“I was struck numerous times that day by how crazy it was that there was all this food just going to waste when so many people go hungry.”

“At the end of the glean I was filled with a warm glow that at least the cabbages we’d picked that day wouldn’t be going to waste. In fact, a couple would be coming home with me to be eaten with much relish”.

“Gleaning was an experience that I Ioved and, if you have the opportunity, I would highly recommend anyone to give it a go”.

For more information about gleaning and to get involved, visit FoodFutures stall at Lancaster’s charter market this Saturday (14th November) in Dalton Square from 10am. There will be gleaned pumpkins and a FoodFriends hamper prize draw. You can also email to be added to the gleaning email list.

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