Pip – Volunteer with Gleaning Cornwall
In our village church we have a “Give and take shelf” where, since Covid times, people have left donated food items for others in need to take anonymously. Since I began volunteering with the gleaning team I have been leaving a crate of freshly gleaned produce there, and posting photos on the village Facebook page. I also include information on where it has come from and include a link to the Gleaning Group so that people can find more about Gleaning and why we do it. Many conversations have come about because of this, on the subject of food waste, where the food is picked and by whom, where it is distributed, and what happens to the crops that are never picked. It’s really got people talking. It’s also very much appreciated as a source of fresh veg for people who don’t want a massive amount, and can just take one or two of the size that they choose. Many of our elderly villagers are very pleased to have a tiny cauliflower or undersized cabbage as they then don’t waste any.
A couple were seen going in to the church pantry were delighted to be offered our parsnips and cauliflowers. It turns out that they are both on benefits and have health conditions. Due to his allergies and diabetes, the husband requires all his meals to be made from scratch, so the vegetables were a really valuable gift to them. Due to his diabetes he said he wouldn’t be able to eat the parsnips as they are relatively high in sugar, but he was delighted with the cauliflowers, and took away one in each pocket. His wife was really glad of a couple of parsnips.
Since moving to the village and joining the Gleaning Group I have also invited another friend from the village along to glean with us. She hadn’t made all that many friends in the village, but now she has friends on the Gleaning team, she takes veg to several neighbours after a glean, and told me this week that she’s enrolled another gleaner to come along next time.
Friendships within our Gleaning team are really valuable to us. Now one of the Gleaners has been invited to our regular local dog walking group, so each of our social networks is blossoming!
I could go on about the joy and satisfaction I gain personally by picking and rescuing veggies and giving them to people who really need and appreciate them. It’s a learning curve and I’m loving expanding my knowledge and understanding of veg and agriculture and food waste/ food poverty issues.
So glad I’m on board.