The Gleaning Project of South Central PA was created in 2009 by Jan and Jerry Althoff. In its first four years, 347,715 lbs. of fresh fruits and veggies were collected and distributed to help feed families in South Central PA. Starting in 2013, responsibility for The Gleaning Project was transferred to South Central Community Action Programs (SCCAP) in Gettysburg. We are now working to continue and expand upon Jan and Jerry’s vision!
So what does a “gleaning project” do exactly? We’re glad you asked! In America up to 40 percent of all the food grown in our fields is wasted. It never gets eaten, and frequently it never even leaves the field. Food gets left in the field for several reasons: it’s left behind by mechanical harvesting techniques, the crop is too big for growers to harvest in time, the produce wasn’t ‘pretty’ enough (but still tasty!) for store shelves, or it’s unprofitable for growers to harvest their crop due to swings in market prices.
At the same time, however, a significant number of American families are unable to buy enough healthy food. Obesity and food insecurity are both very real problems in South Central Pennsylvania and around the nation. In Pennsylvania, 1 in 4 hildren is considered 'food insecure.'
And that’s why we glean! When growers and distributors know they have food that will go to waste, they can call us. We go to where the food is, collect all that we can, and then deliver it to local organizations that help feed local residents in need. Now the food goes to a good use instead of being thrown out or rotting in the field! Not only is it good for the community, but it makes sense environmentally and economically.