Under an August sun, 13 volunteers crouched in a field pulling bean plants out by their roots.

The process is called gleaning – gathering any produce that remains in the field after the main harvest. The idea has its roots in the Old Testament, but has recently become popular as a way to combat food waste and feed the hungry.

In this case, the beans – flat, yellow and classic green – were bound for Maine food pantries.

Garbage to Garden, a curbside composting service, provided most of the volunteers. The beans were offered by Penny Jordan of Jordan’s Farm in Cape Elizabeth.

The work and distribution were organized by a coalition of groups – the Maine Gleaning Network, Maine Cooperative Extension, Healthy Acadia and the Midcoast Hunger Prevention Program.

In two hours, the group gathered more than 250 pounds.

If you are interested in gleaning opportunities in Maine, contact Hannah Semler at [email protected]


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