Gleaning Business :Gleaning is the act of collecting excess fresh foods from farms, gardens and farmers markets.
You can start a gleaning business where you target leftovers in farms.
So as to reduce food wastages in farms.
After you gather your produce.
You need to have where you would distribute them.
So you need to get all these researched and ready before you start the business.
You can comfortably start this business if you live in a farming community.
Have you ever heard a person or business say.
We generate too much income and need to cut back on sales.
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Heck no! Every business spends significant time and emotional capital working to grow sales and profits.
Owners/managers often expect solutions can only come from long hours.
Great intellect and superhuman effort.
Fortunately for us mere mortals that is not how it really works.
I have yet to meet a business that is not leaving money on the table.
With their existing customers in one way or another.
In fact, I have done exactly that on more than one occasion.
When that happens, you can’t help but think.
“Why did I not do that sooner?”
The truth is, it is very easy to get tunnel vision.
And focus so much on the day to day that you overlook easy ways to grow sales.
Meaning of Gleaning:
Gleaning refers to the collection of crops either from farmers’ fields.
That have already been mechanically harvested.
Or from fields where it is not economically profitable to harvest, due to low market prices.
1. Reconnect at the local level
“And when ye reap the harvest of your land.
Thou shalt not make clean riddance of the corners of thy field when thou reapest.
Neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest.
Thou shalt leave them unto the poor, and to the stranger.” Leviticus xxiii, 22.
Food recovery refers to the collection of edible food by the poor.
Or for distribution to the poor and hungry.
Food recovery takes several forms: gleaning, perishable food rescue/salvage.
Non-perishable food collection, and rescue of prepared food.
2. Gleaning Business Terms :
These terms are used as follows:
Perishable food rescue/salvage is carried out from wholesale and retail outlets.
In some instances food recovery applies to the produce.
That is riper than is appropriate for transport to retail outlets.
Non-perishable food collection is the collection of processed foods that are non-perishable.
These are usually collected from manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers.
Prepared food rescue refers to food collected from the food service industry ie restaurants, caterers, hotels, and other commercial kitchens.
Gleaning in Business:
Throughout history, every culture built around farming.
Had people who literally lived off of what what was left behind after the harvest.
The process of gathering leftover produce after a harvest is known as gleaning.
Regardless of what the crop is, even the most efficient harvests always leave produce behind.
As a result, those willing to put in the work literally produce their own harvest from what is left behind.
Business is no different.
Food recovery provides us with an opportunity to reconnect with food and people.
Whilst following a basic humanitarian ethic to help others.
Eliminating hunger and poverty is a moral issue.
When we are driven by compassion for others we develop a connection not only to food and people.
But also to our deepest values.
You can be involved in any of the four different types of food recovery programs.
It is a case of finding one near you, or of starting one in your community.
I will outline ways to start one later in this section.
4. Gleaning business benefits
One of the side benefits of being part of a food recovery program.
Is in knowing you are involved in the continuation of a long history or tradition.
As I have mentioned before when we connect to tradition we feel a greater connection to all people.
For some reason it is still a tradition in some countries but not in others.
It is still popular in many countries in Europe and in North America.
But strangely is quite uncommon in Australia and New Zealand and Nigeria.
There is little evidence in the short history of these two latter countries.
That there has ever been a strong gleaning or food recovery tradition.
This is strange because most early settlers of these countries came from Europe where the tradition was quite strong.
Thousands of years ago, nothing was wasted.
Today, it is only the clear-thinking who include food recovery and gleaning as part of the agricultural system.
5. Gleaning business process
Food recovery is the collection of wholesome food for distribution to the poor and hungry.
It need not be from the fields, but could be surplus from packing, or distribution or retail outlets.
If there are no local food recovery or gleaning programs in your area.
It may be possible to set one up.
In most cases food recovery programs do not advantage the owner of the food.
That is, farmers, retailers, wholesalers etc do not stand to gain from the programs.
Apart from the inherent rewards for providing a service to economically disadvantaged group.
If you want to help other people to get involved in the slow movement.
And to reconnect to food and food production.
You can start up a gleaning program in your local area.
It is relatively easy to do.
Other people have done it and we can learn from their experience.
Below are some guidelines and suggestions you may find useful.
You need to find farmers in your area that might be agreeable to participating in a gleaning program.
Some crops are better suited to gleaning than others.
For example, grain crops vs fruit orchards.
Before you approach a farmer to discuss gleaning.
Do some homework on the potential issues for both the farmer and the community group you represent.
The following questions involve very practical issues that need to be considered:
- Who will supply the containers for the gleaned produce?
- How many people is it practical to have involved in the gleaning activity?
- Will the gleaners need toilets or other facilities?
- Will children be accompanying gleaners?
- Is there a safe parking area?
- Who will bear the responsibility if someone is injured on the farm?
Gleaning activities are very popular.
So it may be necessary to keep the gleaning activity to a manageable size.
Either by restricting the number of people who can be involved.
Or by breaking the large group into smaller groups.
With their own leader who coordinates the group’s activities.
When we think about the kinds of things that need to be considered and managed.
We can see that a large group would be too difficult.
6. Business consideration
Here are some of the considerations:
- What kind of tools will gleaners need? Do gleaners have their own tools? If not, where can you get tools – local business and community groups may provide tools.
- How will produce be transported? Will it need any special care to prevent damage?
- If the gleaners need toilets who will provide these? Contact local businesses to provide portable toilets.
- What kind of protection do gleaners need? Sun protection? Drinks? Snacks? First Aid? Who will provide these?
- Will the gleaners need instruction to pick the produce? Who will provide this?
- Gleaners may find it useful to get a factsheet prior to the gleaning activity giving suggestions for appropriate clothing, refreshments, transport etc.
- Is there a contingency plan in case of bad weather? Or other unforseen problems?
- What will be necessary to leave the farm in clean and tidy condition? Who will be responsible for making sure no rubbish is left behind, the temporary facilities are removed and any other conditions set by the farmer are met?
That leads to the question.
What does my business need to do in order to reap a full harvest?
The answer is certainly different for every person and business.
There is no single answer that fits every person, business and industry.
However, there are some fairly universal ways to go.
About answering that for your business and your situation.
Here are some options to consider:
7. Consultant, Coach or Mentor
Finding opportunity in your business can be as easy as getting an outside perspective, whether from a paid consultant or even just an astute friend or associate.
8. Work On, Not In, Your Business
Sometimes all you need to do is to offload enough of the repetitive work that occupies your time and focus in order to gain perspective for yourself.
9. Industry Best Practices
It’s easy to get tunnel vision in your own business.
Which often makes it easier to find opportunity by studying what your competition is doing.
What technology are they using, what products and price points are they advertising, etc?
Don’t be afraid to ask your customers.
What can we do better?
Are there other products or services that you’d be interested in?
What influences your buying decisions?
Whether it’s freeing up your time, getting outside help.
Studying your competition or something else entirely.
What is certain is that there are always opportunities for improvement.
While there is always more that can be done with your customers it is possible to overwhelm them.
Be sure to find that balance and get customer feedback in the process.
It goes without saying that a temporary boost in income.
Followed by the loss of repeat customers is counter-productive.