Produce World has opened its fields to a team of volunteers from Gleaning Network UK to allow them to ‘glean’ cauliflowers for the charities FareShare and the Ferry Project.
Produce World, the UK’s largest grower and supplier of fresh vegetables, has been working with FareShare - which redistributes produce that would otherwise not be used to food poverty oganisations - for a number of years, but the recent waste-tackling event saw the Gleaning Network UK group travel to Produce World Butterwick and descend on one of the cauliflower fields.
‘Gleaning’ is the act of entering a field after the owner has harvested their crop, and gathering what has been left.
Gleaning is spreading all over the UK, with new Gleaning Network hubs springing up in Manchester, Bristol, Brighton, Cambridge, London and Kent. In 2013, approximately 48 tonnes of produce, equal to over 200,000 meals, was gleaned.
Rachel Ilgunas, agronomy and CSR administrator at Produce World, said: “About eight volunteers came down to Produce World Butterwick. Some of these people were from the Cambridge and London areas and some from South Lincolnshire.
“We believe that through this activity we have donated one and a half tonnes of brassicas – approximately 18,750 portions for the hungry and food insecure. We hope this is something that we can go on to develop and increase the tonnage that we donate and build a relationship with Gleaning Network UK”.
Produce World Butterwick has opened its gates to gleaners before, but this was the first time that volunteers have operated in a commercial field.
Produce was sent to FareShare centres in Birmingham and Leicester, and from there it is being distributed to localised food charities such as homeless centres and soup kitchens. The Ferry Project also took a donation, providing support to local food banks, homeless hostels and the elderly.
Martin Bowman at Gleaning Network UK, said: “We are thrilled to be working with the Produce World Group. They have given us a great opportunity to harvest vegetables, and get them to those who need them most”.