Thursday, March 21, 2013

Modern Day Gleaning

Today's reflection talks of an absolutely awesome gleaning program that the author's church provides for people unable to afford the prices at the farmer's market, or without room to grow their own food.  Another excellent resource talks of a variety of gleaning programs available.  And this site talks about gleaning as a method of self-employment and self-sustenance.

In today's society, gleaned food may be marginal, just on the threshold of becoming bad, and so many won't eat it, knowing that it will make them ill.  Our stomachs don't have the intestinal flora to keep up with such things.  However, one of the things learned from working within the Renaissance reenactment community was how people of the Renaissance time used spices to make such marginal food digestible.  Those spices that are currently used most often in baking (cinnamon, ginger, cloves, allspice) and those that spice things up a bit (cayenne, curry, any of the peppers, etc.) will actually help your body digest things that it might not otherwise be willing to.  This works with both meat and vegetables, and can lengthen the shelf life of your food.  You might want to take a look at recipes to provide with gleaning programs.

It might also be an option to assist those who are homeless, unemployed, by providing them with transportation to help with the gleaning programs, raising their self-esteem as they know they are not only providing for themselves, but also helping others in a time of shared need.

In our town, there are areas in the wild where huckleberries, blueberries, raspberries, plums, apples, etc. grow.  As we're also competing with bears, we tend to organize groups to go and pick, and then parties for canning and preserving.  Willing hands are all that are needed, and those unused to the process will have those experienced to teach them and help them along.  Don't forget to share with your neighbor as we all have the feast provided to us by the Divine. 

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