Hilda – Volunteer with Gleaning Cornwall
I have always foraged and gleaned but walking about the countryside I was both puzzled and horrified by the amount of agricultural wastage: occasionally, whole fields left unharvested because a supermarket had reneged on its contract with a farmer; routinely, vast quantities of perfectly good produce left to rot because the supermarkets only wanted vegetables of a very specific size and shape. I could think of no way, on my own, in which I could do anything about it. But then, in a chance meeting at Hayle community larder, I learned about a woman who had had the vision and enterprise to stop agonising and achieve something: Holly
I contacted her and was able to join the mid Cornwall gleaning group. It felt so good to finally be making a small contribution to bringing together wonderful fresh produce and people desperately in need of food. More selfishly, I love being out in the fresh air doing something useful and being able to take back home with me produce that I can distribute to my friends and neighbours, for which they are always so grateful. Because I have no car, I am only able to participate in the gleans when someone is kind enough to pick me up, but gleaners being the wonderful people they are, I am usually able to do so, and am so grateful to those kind souls, who help to provide one of the highlights of my week. I’m grateful to the whole community of gleaners for the incredible work they do, whatever the weather. My experience of gleaning has taught me so much, not only about the way our food is produced but about other people and how, in a climate in which our leaders are concerned only with with themselves, there are so many “ordinary” ( I really wish they they were ordinary rather than extraordinary!) people who are doing whatever they can to help others. I always feel frustrated when we leave a field which still has so much perfectly good produce in it and the only difference I would like to suggest to how we operate is somehow to take even more. I have been pleased to see that more of us are taking surplus to put on walls and in other places where people can help themselves and I think this trend should be encouraged. Finally I would like to thank and give due recognition to all the wonderful women and men who are devoting so much time and energy to making this happen and making it such a positive experience for everyone involved in it. Thank you!