Picking the parking strips: the gleaning fruit movement


Last week was my first "official" gleaning, and my first experience with what looks a lot like a lacrosse stick.

Actually, it's a little harvesting basket on the end of a long stick. A significant difference, as we'll see.

Asiya Wadud is profiled in a June New York Times article, along with other urban fruit foragers, who believe that "neighborhood fruit tastes best when it's free" -- part of a movement of unknown size and velocity to harvest and use the ripe fruit hanging in public spaces and private residences. With permission, of course.

There are two sorts of gleaners: the sorts who organize and the sorts who are more spontaneous and anarchic. The spontaneous and anarchic ones are entirely non-new, but getting (perhaps) more energized about the idea, which is essentially based on these principles: local food is good, picking and eating fruit when ripe and at its peak of flavor is wonderful, one should not let food go to waste, one should use food growing around us to feed the hungry (even if the hungry is you, and if you are not especially poverty-stricken). And while I disagree with the premise of the New York Times article -- that's it's all about the freebie -- I am now a part of both sides of the gleaning spectrum.