Kentucky Interfaith Power & Light runs a program call Harvesting Hands which works to provide food to people in need.
Every year in the United States between 40% and 50% of all food that is produced and ready for harvest is wasted. That means that for every square mile of corn that is grown, every gallon of milk that is produced or animal that is raised an identical one ends up in the landfill. Not only is this wasteful but it places an heavy and unnecessary burden on the planet.
Food production has one of the largest harmful impacts on the environment through fertilizer and pesticide run off, soil erosion and emission of green house gases. A recent U.N. study found that livestock alone accounts for more green house gas emissions than the entire global transportation sector combined. In the mean time many of our neighbors who are dependent on food shelters for their meals struggle to find fresh, whole and healthy food on their plates.
Harvesting Hands is a volunteer based program that works to address both of these issues in Kentucky’s local food system by gathering (or gleaning) fresh excess produce and turning it into a valuable resource for our neighbors in need. They glean from both farmer’s markets and local farms.
Through this action they not only help to provide healthy food to those in need but they also honor the fossil fuel resources that are used in producing the food.
Often farmers or vegetable sellers overestimate the amount of food they need to grow or sell. Traditionally that food is trashed and then contributes to higher carbon emissions. The Harvesting Hands program helps to harvest that unused food by going to farms and picking the excess or collecting it from farmers markets.
Run by volunteers, Harvesting Hands reduces waste and is building a more sustainable food future.