Is gleaning still practised today?
In Leviticus 19:9-10, farmers were instructed not to harvest to the edge of their fields, or to go over their crops a second time. Instead, they were to intentionally leave some of the produce to be gathered by the poor and the foreigners. This was a way to enable those in need to share in the harvest. An example of this practice is described in the story of Ruth, where she gleaned in Boaz’s fields to gather grain for herself and her mother-in-law.
Today, food-waste recovery programmes can be regarded as modern forms of gleaning. It is estimated that about one-third of the food produced in the world is wasted each year, while nearly 10% of the world’s population does not have enough to eat. In order to reduce food waste and put it to good use, food banks and food rescue organisations collect usable or unsold food to distribute to those in need. This also includes food discarded due to cosmetic filtering, i.e. edible food considered unsuitable for sale simply because of their shape, colour or size.