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Friday, September 2, 2011

Waste Not, Want Not, Part II

Yesterday in this math-oriented blog I posted on the subject "Waste Not, Want Not". Today I have been researching more on gleaning (picking up food that would otherwise be wasted). I find that it's done most often in the US by adults or youth groups who do not need the food themselves, but are collecting and redistributing it to others.

Working now with the time-worn phrase "a picture is worth a thousand words", please calculate how many equivalent words am I sharing with you on the back-breaking work of gleaning:

Do you notice that gleaning seems to be a communal activity? Very rarely do you see one person, alone, picking their way through the fields. It's always a small group - often women, but not exclusively. Even these two children are at work, picking up grain.

Most paintings and photos show people bent over and laboring in the fields. Very rarely are gleaners sitting down, like this group working on a pile of potatoes.

The thought of having to glean for my lunch is a difficult thing to consider. Imagine doing it every day for your sustenance, like Ruth. Will things ever change? Will we always need generous tolerance from landowners to support those who have nothing? I'll leave you to contemplate this subject, and close with an ironic painting by Banksy: