USDA Announces Fall Harvest Gleaning from
By Jim Henry
November 24, 1998
Volunteer gleaners have harvested 27 tons of fresh tomatoes and 12 tons of
corn and other fresh produce from the U.S.
Department of Agriculture's Beltsville Agricultural Research Center
The 7,000-acre Beltsville center is the largest of the nearly 100 research
locations of the USDA's Agricultural
"It doesn't surprise me to see employees setting an example by
volunteering to work side by side with homeless people, high school students
and community groups to recover food to feed the hungry," said Floyd P.
Horn, ARS administrator. "By taking part in the Department's
Food Recovery and Gleaning
Initiative begun in 1997, the Beltsville research farm is setting an
example for the nation's private farms as well."
The Beltsville bounty
included green beans, squash and cucumbers along with tomatoes and corn. Horn
said more than half the food went to Food for Others, of Fairfax, Va.
"This organization feeds as many as 800 people a night at 15 sites in
northern Virginia," Horn said. "It supplies food to about 50 other
organizations in the metropolitan Washington area."
Fresh produce from Beltsville also was harvested by the Washington Area
Gleaning Network. The group distributed the food to the Capital Area Community
Food Bank in Washington, Maryland Food
Bank, Inc., plus soup kitchens, shelters and housing projects in the
Capital Area Community Food Bank and Maryland Food Bank redistribute the
produce to a total of 950 feeding programs.
"Hundreds of people eat this produce daily. It may show up on the table
as side dishes or in salads or soups at places like
Martha's Table in D.C.," Horn
said. He cited gleaning activities by other ARS labs:
- The New England Plant, Soil and Water Laboratory, Orono, Me., provided
about 50 tons of potatoes this year largely through the efforts of an
agricultural class at
Regional High School, Newport, Me. Students themselves gleaned 45 tons,
sending 4 tons to Honduran victims of Hurricane Mitch. Each year the class also
gives the lab's potatoes to a local food kitchen and other organizations for
Thanksgiving and holiday baskets. In addition, ARS employees at the lab gleaned
and delivered 5 tons of potatoes to Manna, Inc., in Bangor, Me.
"These are just a few examples of just one USDA agency's contribution
to gleaning," Horn said. "USDA employees from other agencies help in
both the Beltsville gleaning activities and in similar gleaning and recovery
programs throughout the country, on private as well as public farms and in
restaurants, cafeterias, supermarkets, warehouses and farmers' markets.
Gleaned foods from Beltsville and other ARS locations were grown in research
studies aimed at solving significant problems in food production and quality.
The donated foods were not part of pesticide trials and are completely safe for
More information about national organizations, their affiliates and
independent groups in food recovery and gleaning can be found at a USDA web
The department also has a toll-free gleaning hotline, "800-GLEAN-IT."
Media Contact: Jim Henry, ARS
Information Staff, 5601
Sunnyside Ave., Room 1-2551, Beltsville MD 20705-5128, (301) 504-1611,