40,000 Gleaners Show Up on Colorado Farm


Wow.  Crop gleaning is the wise and ancient practice of picking up the leftover food that doesn’t get harvested when the workers (or, now, machines) move through the fields. A lot of food banks have volunteers who work as crop gleaners–around here, they will even come harvest your backyard apple tree if you’d like to donate the fruit.

So this farm outside Denver opens its fields to anyone who wants to pick the remaining potatoes and carrots left over after the harvest–and 40,000 people show up.

40,000 people.  To dig free potatoes out of the dirt.



  1. Bopeep, you make a good point. On a more optimistic note, though, maybe the experience on the farm will encourage the visitors to grow some of their own food next year or create new friends for the local farm to fork movement!

  2. At least that farm had a heart. In SW Georgia, which is heavily agricultural, there was a huge tomato field that used to be opened up to gleaners after it had been harvested. Then, about 6 years ago, they started spraying the whole field with herbicide, as soon as it was picked, and putting up poison signs. You could see all the great fruit left (for the first day before the plants withered), and I was outraged at the waste. How cruel, to the needy and to the earth, to spray a field with herbicide just to keep someone from getting the leftovers. That’s some big business for you. But I’m happy to hear there are places left that do what makes sense.

  3. Bopeep you still have a bit of a point, but the metropolitan area of Denver extends all the way to Fort Collins Co. now, well past thirty seven miles. What was once wide open prairie farmland is now vast tracks of suburbia. There are tens of thousands of people much closer to that farm than thirty seven miles.

  4. The only thing I thought of when I originally read this article was ‘The Grapes of Wrath’. Not that 2008 is the same, but if 40,000 people descend on a farm for free food…

  5. Among the many laws in the Old Testament/Torah are laws that govern harvesting. Farmers were told to leave the corners of the fields for the poor to come and glean. Ruth was gleaning grain when she met Boaz. It is indeed an ancient practice, and one that makes a lot of sense.

  6. I’m not gonna go glean produce when I can buy a juniur whopper for 99 cents. Better food on the street corner.

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