Gleaning day on Saturday 1st February 10am-5pm (TBC)

GleaningGleaning Network UK is an exciting new initiative to save the thousands of tonnes of fresh fruit and vegetables that are wasted on UK farms every year.

Farmers across the country often have no choice but to leave tonnes of their crops unharvested and ploughed back into the soil. These crops cannot reach the market either because they fail to meet the strict retail cosmetic standards or because of overproduction. At the same time, 5.8 million people suffer from deep poverty in the UK and cannot afford a decent diet, and this number is on the rise.

Gleaning Network UK coordinates teams of volunteers, local farmers and food redistribution charities in order to salvage this fresh, nutritious food and direct it to those that need it most.

In 2013, they gleaned approximately 48 tonnes of produce, equal to over 200,000 meals, with over 200 volunteers across 18 gleaning days. Gleaning hubs were launched in Kent, Cambridgeshire, Sussex, Bristol, London and Manchester, and hope over the coming year to expand to other regions like Lincolnshire and Scotland.

To kick off the year, they have found thousands of earthy brassicas going to waste, ready for gleaning – in Kent, on a farm near Broadstairs. Not exactly Redhill (or even Surrey), but well within day-trip range. It will be an idyllic day out on a farm in the Kent countryside, saving literally tonnes of delicious brassica that would otherwise have been wasted. All the food will be going to charities dealing with food poverty via FareShare in London.

Travel expenses are covered for those travelling from London and Kent (and hopefully from just over the border in Surrey, but please check with Gleaning Network UK first).

If you can make it, please contact martin@feeding5k.org to confirm whether you can make the whole day (send your phone number and where you’ll be travelling from so they can group you with fellow travel companions). Gleaning Network UK will send you finalized details closer to the time. Please get in touch asap to give an idea of numbers – the more people, the more brassica saved! Also, please do check whether you can make it, as lots of drop outs at the last minute can jeopardise the gleaning day going ahead!

They are also looking for a driver to transport the produce from the farm to FareShare in London – if you’d be interested in driving a van (normal driving license required) for the day, then please get in touch!

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