The Gleaning Network coordinates volunteers, farmers and food redistribution charities in order to salvage the thousands of tonnes of fresh fruit and vegetables that are wasted on farms every year across the UK and Europe, and direct this fresh, nutritious food to people in need.
The project aims to raise awareness about the causes of food waste on farms, and campaign to change retailer policies and consumer cultures leading to this waste. Gleaning is both a powerful way to shed light on the neglected field of farm level waste, and a practical demonstration that the solutions to the problem are simple and immediately implementable. It is one of the most effective ways to dramatically reduce the environmental impact of food production, whilst improving the welfare of farmers in the UK and overseas.
Below you’ll find more information on Gleaning Network UK – our story so far, our plans for the future, and how you can get involved. Feedback are also the lead partner on Gleaning Network EU, a project that so far involves gleaning operations in Belgium, France, Greece and Spain; we hope other EU countries will join us soon. Click here to read more about Gleaning Network EU.
Gleaning Network UK
Gleaning Network UK is fast expanding to become a national project. From our start in 2012 to the end of 2015, the Gleaning Network already gleaned over 188 tonnes of produce, equal to well over 2 million portions of fruit and veg, with over 1000 volunteers across 99 gleaning days. We have hubs in the North West (Lancashire), Bristol, West England, Sussex, East England (Cambs, S Lincs and Norfolk), London and Kent. Apples, pears, plums, strawberries, cauliflower, cabbages, lettuces, pumpkins and parsnips are just some of the produce already gleaned. On two gleaning days alone in June 2015, we saved around 20 tonnes of parsnips from going to waste for charity. In 2016, we plan to do even more – we’ll be expanding to new hubs around the UK, and ramping up our campaign to end food waste on farms!
Get Involved – Volunteers
Are you an individual or group and want to become a modern day gleaner?
Sign up to our gleaning list below and we will let you know when there’s a gleaning day near you:
Rise up with the arable spring!
Are you a farmer with surplus produce? Gleaning Network UK are appealing to farmers across the UK to join in and allow volunteer ‘gleaners’ to harvest their unwanted produce for charity!
For more info on how to host a gleaning day, just download our info sheet and case studies of farmers’ eye view on previous gleans:
We’ve also been featured in a range of farmer’s publications, including Farmers Weekly, Farming Online and Fresh Produce Journal and South East Farmers. We have hubs in Kent, Sussex, London, North East, Bristol, and Cambridgeshire, and are expanding to new areas all the time, so please do get in touch!
If you’re interested in hosting a gleaning day, or for more info, please get in touch with Martin at [email protected]
Follow us on social media
In the press
Gleaning Network UK has received widespread media coverage, including:
As well as numerous features on local TV and radio for BBC and ITV amongst others. If you’re interested in covering Gleaning Network UK, or sending reporters to any of our gleaning days, please get in touch for press releases, photos and enquiries, at
Staggering facts about food waste on farms
The Soil Association estimate that 20-40% of UK Fruit and vegetables are rejected on cosmetic grounds before they reach the consumer. You can find a fantastic gallery of wonky vegetables on the Guardian website. Watch Intermarche’s video about their radical expansion of “wonky” fruit and veg in their supermarkets in France. We’re calling on UK supermarkets to do the same! There’s been some progress – for instance Asda, Morrisons and Tesco have made some changes. But there’s still a long way to go!
We also want to tackle unfair trading practices in the supply chain, where the risk for food waste gets dumped by supermarket policy onto farmers. Check out our Stop Dumping campaign, with research into UK and international farmers’ experiences, and sign our Avaaz petition which has over 1 million signatures!
For a bit more detail about food waste on farms, check out these great reports from WRAP (UK), WRAP’s Product Sustainability Forum and the NRDC (US). Tesco have also released some data on their supply chain food waste.