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A Letter from Chip – What you can glean from our three pillars

June 2021

Dear Friends,

Grow, Glean, Give. Most likely, if you have volunteered with America’s Grow-a-Row or read about us, you are familiar with our three pillars. The Grow and Give pillars are somewhat obvious. As you would expect, we “Grow” produce for those faced with hunger. And we provide our volunteers with an opportunity to “Give” back through a unique hands-on approach of working in the fields to harvest fresh fruits and vegetables that help minimize food insecurity in the region.

Our other pillar, “Glean,” is a less commonly used term, yet the concept has been around for ages. According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, one of the definitions of the word “glean” is to gather grain or other produce left by reapers. The practice of gleaning has been dated and recorded all the way back in the Old Testament. In fact, the Israelites had a law that required them to leave the corners or edges of their fields unharvested so that the poor would have access to part of those crops. 

At America’s Grow-a-Row, each year we glean not only in the fields but at a few local supermarkets. When we rescue produce at Longmeadow Farm and Riamede Farm, we call it on-the-field gleaning. The welcoming farmers who own these orchards allow us to harvest apples that would otherwise go to waste, resulting in approximately 75,000 pounds of apples per year that we distribute to local hunger relief agencies.

When we rescue produce from the generous ShopRite of Hunterdon County stores and the Washington ShopRite, we call it off-the-field gleaning. Since we started this element of the program, we have secured over 1 million pounds of produce from these retail stores alone and distributed it to those in need. You can read a bit more about our gleaning efforts later in this newsletter.  

I hope you enjoyed “gleaning” a few kernels of trivia about the three pillars of America’s Grow-a-Row! Much has changed over time in terms of farming practices, but it’s great to know that the idea of gleaning has not. If anything, the concept has been enhanced to include supermarkets, restaurants, and cafeterias too, resulting in less food waste and more food access for those struggling to make ends meet.

Thank you for your support, which allows us to Grow, Glean, and Give each and every day. We simply could not do it without you.

See you in the fields!


President and Founder

One thought on “A Letter from Chip – What you can glean from our three pillars

  1. Richard Dunne says:

    Chip – Have you thought about reaching out to the Stop & Shop on Rt. 31 just north of the Hunterdon Hospital to see if they are willing to join the “Glean Team”?

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