UK - Biblical Gleaning to Cut Food Waste

Arno Froese

Feedback Global is one of a handful of campaign groups organizing gleans across Britain. It’s seen its efforts swell—more than doubling the days in the fields between 2014 and 2018, working with four times as many volunteers and harvesting more than a hundred tons of unwanted fruit and vegetables from farms—that would otherwise be left to rot.

Gleaning is not new, the Old Testament guides farmers to leave overlooked produce for the poor, strangers and more specifically widows and orphans.

Farmers across faiths and continents habitually left a little for the needy. In 18th Century England gleaning was a legal right for the landless. But it ebbed away in modern life, eroded by technology and regulation, left to live on quietly in faith led charities wanting to ease societal hunger—until now.

Coordinator Josephine Payne admits thinking about how much food goes unused can leave her feeling overwhelmed. And today a report from the charity Wrap highlights her fears are not unfounded—with 3.6m tons of food unused or surplus at farm level. That’s 7.2% of fruit, vegetables, crops or livestock—worth £1.2bn at market.

The gleaners are doing something the charity wants to see done large scale across the industry—increasing redistribution by working together.

Signing up is a no-brainer for farmer Chris Molyneux. “This is going to be of no use to me now,” he says, kale in hand, gesturing to the field around him where some of the leaves have started to turn yellow and mingled in amongst the wildflowers.

Any crop left will be ploughed into the soil as fertilizer. “It would be nice if we could sell a bit more, get rid of a bit more, use a bit more.”, 25 July 2019

Arno's commentary

Gleaning, in the European world, is a thing of the past. This writer experienced it in post-war Germany. The apparent difference between today’s gleaners in the UK and the ones who needed food is that, in olden days, it was the poor who gleaned the fields. In our days, it is the well-to-do who glean for the poor. That’s where the problem lies: the work has to be done on a voluntary basis, and then the fruit of the labor of the hands of the volunteers is enjoyed by those who need the food.

Regarding the UK, the following excerpt is from an article in Wikipedia under “Hunger in the UK”:

Analyses by the Food Foundation thinktank published in 2016, ranked the UK in the bottom half of European countries for food insecurity. In summer 2017 Unicef published a set of related reports looking at progress at meeting the Sustainable Development Goals in relation to children, including the reduction of hunger, across the globe, and in some cases with a focus on high income countries. On a metric for the % of children under 15 living in a severely food insecure household, the UK was the worst performing member of the EU. In an indicator looking at overall progress to “end hunger, achieve food security and improve nutrition,” the UK was the 8th worst performer out of 41 high income countries.

Throughout the United States, there are several organizations with the aim to feed the hungry. It may not be known to many readers that “the United States, who ratified the SDGS (Sustainable Development Goals), stands last among the G20 nations to attain the sustainable development goal” (Wikipedia).

The organization Feeding America lists 40,044,000 people in America experiencing food insecurity in 2017.

What is the answer? First of all, Jesus says, “For ye have the poor with you always” (Mark 14:7a). Thus, erasing hunger for a great number of people around the world is something that will not change, although an organization run by Bill and Melinda Gates claims that hunger has been reduced by 50% during the last two decades.

Alarm about food shortages has not materialized, at least not yet. Food is abundant, even in poverty-stricken countries. The problem is, was, and will be distribution, and that too will be not be solved until righteous government is installed. It will happen when the Son of Righteousness, Jesus Christ, returns to Israel and from there rules the nations of the world with a rod of iron.

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

Read more from this author

ContactAbout UsPrivacy and Safety