Gleaning is simply the act of collecting excess fresh foods from farms, gardens, farmers markets, grocers, restaurants, state/county fairs, or any other sources in order to provide it to those in need. - USDA
For more information about gleaning from the U.S. Department of Agriculture read this document.
What is Food Insecurity?
The World Food Summit of 1996 defined food security as existing “when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life”. Commonly, the concept of food security is defined as including both physical and economic access to food that meets people's dietary needs as well as their food preferences. In many countries, health problems related to dietary excess are an ever increasing threat, In fact, malnutrition and foodborne diarrhea are become double burden. Food security is built on three pillars:
Food availability: sufficient quantities of food available on a consistent basis.
Food access: having sufficient resources to obtain appropriate foods for a nutritious diet.
Food use: appropriate use based on knowledge of basic nutrition and care, as well as adequate water and sanitation.
Food security is a complex sustainable development issue, linked to health through malnutrition, but also to sustainable economic development, environment, and trade. There is a great deal of debate around food security with some arguing that:
There is enough food in the world to feed everyone adequately; the problem is distribution.
Future food needs can - or cannot - be met by current levels of production.
National food security is paramount - or no longer necessary because of global trade.
Globalization may - or may not - lead to the persistence of food insecurity and poverty in rural communities.
Issues such as whether households get enough food, how it is distributed within the household and whether that food fulfills the nutrition needs of all members of the household show that food security is clearly linked to health.
Heartside Gleaning Initiative simply defines healthy food as fresh produce, more specifically fruits, vegetables, and herbs.
What is Food Waste?
According to the USDA, food waste is estimated at between 30-40 percent of the food supply in the United States. This estimate, based on estimates from USDA’s Economic Research Service of 31 percent food loss at the retail and consumer levels, corresponded to approximately 133 billion pounds and $161 billion worth of food in 2010. This amount of waste has far-reaching impacts on food security, resource conservation and climate change:
Wholesome food that could have helped feed families in need is sent to landfills.
The land, water, labor, energy and other inputs used in producing, processing, transporting, preparing, storing, and disposing of discarded food are pulled away from uses that may have been more beneficial to society – and generate impacts on the environment that may endanger the long-run health of the planet.
Food deserts are defined as residential areas with limited access to affordable and nutritious food. This is largely due to a lack of grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and healthy food providers. This has become a big problem because while food deserts are often short on whole food providers, especially fresh fruits and vegetables, instead, they are heavy on local quickie marts that provide a wealth of processed, sugar, and fat laden foods that are known contributors to our nation’s obesity epidemic. The term "food desert" is often a misnomer as plenty of food may exist in areas described as food deserts, but this food may not be food that is good one's health. A term sometimes used in place of food desert is "food swamp", defined as areas with a high-density of establishments selling high-calorie fast food and junk food, relative to healthier food options.
The food desert problem has in fact become such an issue that the USDA has outlined a map of our nation’s food deserts.
The USDA defines what's considered a food desert and which areas will be helped by this initiative: To qualify as a “low-access community,” at least 500 people and/or at least 33 percent of the census tract's population must reside more than one mile from a supermarket or large grocery store (for rural census tracts, the distance is more than 10 miles).
Do the farmers benefit from donating their excess produce to Heartside GLEANING?
Local farmers benefit from donating their excess produce to Heartside Gleaning in numerous ways including:
Eliminating the need to arrange, transport, and perhaps pay for the disposal of their excess crops each week;
Their donation may be tax deductible based on the value of their yearly donation; and
The joy of knowing that their produce is helping an individual or family in need sustain a healthier lifestyle.
HOW IS Heartside GLEANING DIFFERENT FROM LOCAL FOOD BANKS?
Heartside Gleaning Initiative gleans fresh produce and provides it directly to the residents of Heartside and surrounding neighborhoods, meal programs and food pantries for FREE! Typically, food banks restrict the amount of food that each individual or family can receive each week or month. Heartside Gleaning does not determine nor restrict the amount of produce each recipient receives. In addition, donations are the primary source of many food banks and fresh produce is typically not donated in high volumes, and therefore provided to those in need. Heartside Gleaning fills in this gap by providing the fresh vegetable and fruits necessary for a healthy life. Lastly, many food banks are located outside of the neighborhoods that they serve and require transportation in order to benefit from their programs. Heartside Gleaning serves the Heartside residents in their neighborhood each week. The recipients without private transportation are not restricted by public transportation's rules regarding the number of bags allowed or inconvenienced by their hours or routes. Lastly, Heartside Gleaning partners with local food pantries assisting them to provide a healthier selection of produce to the people they serve.
Who receives the food?
Currently, Heartside Gleaning serves the residents of Grand Rapids' Heartside neighborhood and surrounding communities, including the Southeast, Roosevelt Park and Westside neighborhoods. Anyone can receive the produce, but we aim to provide produce to individuals and families most in need of fresh healthy food. We partner with food pantries and meal programs in these neighborhoods to increase our reach beyond providing food directly to individuals.
how is Heartside gleaning funded?
We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit. All of our funds come from individual donors, organizations, grants and other fundraising efforts. Donate may be made on our website via PayPal. Supporters can create a fundraiser on Facebook or make Amazon purchases through Amazon Smile and designate Heartside Gleaning as your beneficiary. We also host an annual fundraising event, GRatatouille.
how are my donations used by HGI?
We operate on a very lean budget. Until 2017 were were an all volunteer organization. Our funds are spent to further the mission of Heartside Gleaning Initiative, including for day to day operations, such as insurance, and supplies, crates to transport the produce and t-shirts to identify volunteers while at the market. Capital expenses, such as the purchase of a vehicle, will occur as funds become available. For specific information on our financial statements please see our annual reports.
how can i donate to HGI?
Heartside Gleaning appreciates any and all donations that assist us in providing healthy, accessible food to the Grand Rapids community. There are numerous ways to donate to Heartside Gleaning.
For monetary donations, please click here to be directed to our donate page.
Watch our website or email us for information on attending our annual GRatatouille fundraising event.
Create a fundraiser on Facebook
Make Amazon purchases through Amazon Smile and designate Heartside Gleaning as your charity
For fresh produce donations, please contact us via our contact us page or email us at heartsidegleaning.com
Heartside Gleaning is always looking to partner with other local organizations and businesses for fundraising events. Please contact us via our contact us page or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss this further.
How can i volunteer with Heartside gleaning?
Heartside Gleaning loves their volunteers and depends heavily on volunteers for the work they do. There are numerous volunteer opportunities through Heartside Gleaning. You can volunteer for an afternoon or the whole season. You can volunteer to glean, pack food boxes, distribute food, provide educational and other outreach activities, do administrative work, or help with a diversity of other aspects of Heartside Gleaning. Please visit our volunteer page to learn more about our volunteer opportunities and how to sign up to join our team.
Empowering Heartside and surrounding communities to become healthier through increased access to healthy food and nutrition education
Heartside Gleaning P.O Box 603 Ada, MI 49301 Info@HeartsideGleaning.org
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