SUPPORTING THE CORNISH COMMUNITY AND BEYOND...
Gleaning Cornwall has been set up to help feed those in poverty at a time when numbers of people struggling to put food on the table have rocketed, minimise waste and reconnect people with the land. Launched by Regenerative Food and Farming CIC, Gleaning Cornwall harvests surplus food and delivers it to food banks, community kitchens, community larders and cupboards. Produce is donated free of charge on the agreement that it is free to the end user. In doing so they are bringing an age-old practice to avoid waste into the 21st century.
A week in the life of a gleaning coordinator
By Jeni Duncan, Mid Cornwall Gleaning coordinator
Hi I’m Jeni and I joined the gleaning network in September 2021 after discovering an advert for the role of area coordinator on Social Media.
My first glean was coordinating the harvest of a huge glut of courgettes along with my fellow coordinator Kels . We were both incredibly keen to get involved, not least as food poverty was beginning to soar within the County and U.K. wide.
Living in Cornwall, located closely to some of the biggest producers, and seeing crops in the fields that were seemingly going to waste or being ploughed in, it felt like the ideal opportunity to make a difference, and help my local community.
Poverty in Cornwall
By Teresa, Gleaning Logistics
Poverty in Cornwall is escalating at a rapid rate. The divide between rich and poor is one of the highest in the country. Hidden among the glamour of this sought after holiday destination is the stark reality of disproportionally high costs of living, coupled with lack of affordable housing and low paid seasonal work.
The number of organisations feeding people in need and the rise in working people who are now homeless, living in shelters, vehicles, sofa surfing and even on the street, is escalating at pace and a direct result of the housing crisis and exasperated by the cost of living crisis.
MORE THAN FILLING BELLIES!
Healthy food for Cornish families
According to The Big Issue, the UK’s rate of food poverty is among the worst in Europe. Despite being the sixth richest country in the world, millions are struggling to access the food they need. The cost of living crisis is exposing the severity of food poverty in the UK. Millions are being pushed below the breadline as food prices soar, with many struggling to feed themselves and their families.
REDUCING FOOD WASTE
Tackling farm food waste
Holly Whitelaw – founder of Gleaning Cornwall
One of the problems Gleaning Cornwall is helping to address, is food waste. Farmers, through no fault of their own, often can’t harvest all their crops or it is the wrong size, shape or colour for them to be able to sell. Once they understand what we do and why, we have found that farmers are more than happy to donate such produce, knowing it will be used by those who need it most.
Helping the plight of farmers
Holly Whitelaw – Founder of Gleaning Cornwall
Through our work we have learnt so much about the difficulties facing the hard-working people that feed us and how very hard it is to make fruit and veg pay! Many farmers face extreme financial hardship, some having to turn to food banks themselves! They are often portrayed as the baddy but…
Gleaning Cornwall - making a massive impact on food poverty
Thanks to farmers across Cornwall, teams of volunteers have been out in all weathers, cutting and filling crates with surplus veg throughout the winter. But where does that veg go and what impact does it have?
The image of soup kitchens for the homeless is much outdated. For many low income families, this is the new norm. From the handful of organisations scattered across the county, this has now grown at a frightening rate. With Gleaning Cornwall now in contact with over 100 organisations across the county and demand now also coming from as far away as Plymouth, we offer free fresh produce to feed those in need. The divide between rich and poor has never been wider! Through figures provided by these organisations, it is estimated that our produce contributes to feeding over 6,000 people each week.
Gleaning Cornwall endeavours to get fresh local produce to as many of these people as possible thorough our growing network of volunteers across the county. Right now we are in what is traditionally known as the farming famine season. Last year’s crops are mostly over, fields are being ploughed and new crops sown. But a few of our more hardy veg are still in the fields and our fantastic volunteers have braved the mud and the weather, filling hundreds of crates with food that would otherwise be ploughed back into the ground. This March alone they have gleaned 5 tonnes of potatoes, 327 crates of cauliflower, 109 crates of cabbages, 211 crates of spring greens and 60 sacks of leeks. Our volunteer drivers have distributed this huge haul of veg out across the county, benefiting people from Penzance up to Bude, from Plymouth down to the Lizard and from, Newquay across to St Austell.
The stark reality of food poverty in our county
Wow, what an amazing bunch of volunteers we have! Watch and enjoy our Gleaning Flashmob in fields across the county as they dance to Irene Cara – Flashdance What A Feeling. With just 2 weeks to go we are just over half way with our Crowdfunder, so please share, share share and get everyone you know to donate to our much needed crowdfunder https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/cornwall-gleaning-network-vehicle-fund
Update - Our 4x4 pickup needs a name!
Thanks to everyone for coming together to get the Gleaning team in 4 wheel drive. We did it! The first 4×4 has been purchased and is now hard at work.
This 4×4 vehicle will enable Gleaning Cornwall to safely get crates of veg out of the muddy winter fields, meaning our fantastic teams of volunteers no longer need to struggle through the mud.
As an organisation fighting #FoodPoverty we will be able channel more energy into harvesting surplus produce, keeping Food Banks and Soup Kitchens across the county well stocked with fresh healthy produce
But – our truck deserves a name! We’re asking our followers to come up with the best name. So send us your suggestions
Coming to a field near you very soon!
We did it!!!
Following a successful crowdfunder we are humbled by the generosity of our supporters and would like to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who has donated during December 2021 to help us raise funds.
We are working right now to buy 2 4×4 vehicles and trailers so that we can get in on the muddy fields to bring even more veg to those in need. We hope to be on the road in the next couple of weeks. If anyone has an ideal donor vehicle that would fit our needs or if you’re a garage owner or mechanic that would help us source a reliable vehicle then please get in touch
To everyone who believed in this project and supported it, THANK YOU from all of us at Gleaning Cornwall!
Gleaning Cornwall - Vehicle Fundraiser
Gleaning Cornwall is in need of 2 suitable 4×4 vehicles to aid us in gleaning ever increasing amounts of veg from local farm fields. Our Crowdfunder is now live, read more about it here or hit the donate button. Thank you to everyone who has donated so far, together we can fight food poverty
Please help us to keep going through the winter…
Since our start in August the weather has been kind, meaning that we have been able to drive onto the fields directly and load up our vehicles. So far in 3 months we have harvested over 30 tonnes of fresh veg and delivered this to food banks and projects that need it!
However, as the Cornish winter approaches, we find that we have a real need for some suitable, off road vehicles to help us keep going and keep up with the ever growing orders.
This fund will help us buy two second hand 4×4 vehicles that we can use to load up with equipment, tow trailers of veg and transport our produce across the fields and to the wider community.
By helping to buy these vehicles, you will be enabling us to continue harvesting through some of the toughest months to provide fresh, healthy and local food to those most in need in our county.
Thank you so much for your help.
Don't veg, volunteer!
Our volunteers have been hard at work gleening fruit and veg across mid and west Cornwall but we need to grow our team. So far this year we have rescued over 35 tons of produce that ordinarily would have rotted in the field. This has provided a vital lifeline to families accross the county who are facing food poverty.
Gleaning volunteer find it fun and hugely rewarding. It gives a chance to get outside and do something positive. The last 2 years have left many people feeing isolated and afraid to socialise. Gleaning gives a chance to meet with others in a safe, healthy and rewarding environment
If you would like to volunteer with Gleaning Cornwall please follow this link
Ensuring food goes where it's needed most
The Gleaning Cornwall network supplies fruit and vegetables to around 100 charities, organisations and volunteer groups who are working hard to ensure those facing food poverty don’t go hungry.
Getting food delivered to every corner of the county, whilst striving to reduce carbon emissions is a tall order. That’s why our growing network of willing drivers who are happy to add a few boxes of veg to their existing workload are a vital part of the chain.
If you have a van or a large car and have a regular route that you travel each week, why not offer your services to help us get produce to the various charities and organisations we donate food to. Go to our Food Distribution page and fill in your details
What our volunteers say
I am so glad that have been able to be a Gleaning volunteer. I really wanted to do something that would mave a difference but also something that would give me a chance to meet up with others who were concerned about food waste and also the dreadful explosion in the need for food banks.
To be honest, the lockdowns really affected my mental health. It was just so frightening and then being stuck at home with trying to keep 2 teenagers in the house. When your dealing with all that with no support it does get you down. I just want to get outside, see people in my community, have a laught and know that I am helping someone else that has also struggled