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January Updates 2021


Dear Envirocare Coordinators, Go Green Champions and Eco-Explorers,

This month, we unfold an important service project, 'Gleaning', which delivers abundant food in different areas with people in need – a simple solution to the enormous challenges of food waste around the globe. Millions of people live in poverty. “One in nine people do not get enough food to be healthy and lead an active life” (United States (UN) Sustainable Goals - Food). Indeed, hunger and malnutrition are the biggest risks to health worldwide.

Let us practice a ceiling on our desires and act together to alleviate the perils of hunger!

Fruit / Vegetable Gleaning to Provide Nutrition to the Hungry

Gleaning is an ancient practice of over 2,000 years to recover food, which goes all the way back to Biblical times.

The Old Testament commanded Hebrew farmers: ‘Now when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest; nor shall you glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather the fallen fruit of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the needy and for the stranger.’
– Leviticus 19:9-10

Gleaning is making an amazing modern comeback!

What is Gleaning?

Gleaning is simply the act of collecting excess fresh foods from farms, gardens, markets, grocers, restaurants, state/country fairs, or any other sources, in order to provide it to those in need.’ – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Avoiding food waste is the gleaners’ first motivation but reducing poverty comes a close second!  The progress continues in the fight against hunger.

Inspiring Gleaning stories of Sri Sathya Sai Centres in the U.S.

Sri Sathya Sai volunteers across the Sri Sathya Sai International Organisation (SSSIO) in the East Coasts regions (Florida, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia) of the United States, Zone 1, have supported gleaning projects for over eight years. Some farms in the U.S. have crops available at different times of the year when gleaners find an abundance of healthy and delicious produce, ready to be shared with neighbours in need. All vegetables and fruits gleaned, get distributed to local food banks, soup kitchen pantries, homeless shelters, impoverished communities and other food providers for feeding the hungry and the poor.

Sri Sathya Sai Centre of Bridgewater

Since 2015, Sri Sathya Sai Centre of Bridgewater has been participating in the annual Apple Gleaning organised by the New Jersey Agricultural Society (NJAS) Farmers Against Hunger Program.

The Eastmond Orchards, in Colts Neck, New Jersey annually welcomes around 25 Sri Sathya Sai volunteers towards the end of the season, usually in October / early November, to glean all good apples that are either on the ground or left hanging on the trees. With two hours of endless enthusiasm and stamina, the volunteers collect approximately 1,500 kilograms of fresh apples for distribution by the NJAS to people in need and low-income families.

Sri Sathya Sai Centre of Baltimore

The Sri Sathya Sai Centre of Baltimore initiated an annual gleaning activity in 2017.

Recently, around 24 Sri Sathya Sai volunteers and 17 children walked through the First Fruit farms Maryland to glean seasonal fruits and vegetables, such as potatoes, tomatoes, chilli peppers, pumpkins, cucumbers, sweet corn and apples.

Sri Sathya Sai Centres of South Bethesda

Since 2012, Sri Sathya Sai volunteers from Sri Sathya Sai Centres of South Bethesda, Fairfax and Loudoun have journeyed to Miller farms to harvest nutritious kale, collard greens, and other excess produce.

Some of these vegetables are donated to food banks in Washington D.C. and some are ground up and made into hot soups to feed the hungry.

Sri Sathya Sai volunteers and farmers believe in rescuing Mother Nature’s bounty to create healthy communities. We are Mother Nature’s creation but also architects of our actions and destiny!

DOWNLOAD Service Community Outreach Guide on food waste reduction

Reflection of little Sri Sathya Sai Gleaners

‘Taking part in the gleaning service has made us feel like we have given something beyond just food to the people who are less fortunate than us. It is a great feeling of accomplishment.’

‘It was a way of connecting to Nature and finally we were harvesting what would have been a waste or not used.’

‘This makes me happy that I am an instrument in God’s hand to help people. As Sri Sathya Sai Baba says, “Hands that help are holier than lips that pray.”’

–  Students of Sai Spiritual Education (SSE) Group 3, Sri Sathya Sai Centre of Bethesda

The Highlights – Understanding how food is wasted globally!

Food is wasted throughout the supply chain, from farm to the table: vegetables and fruits rot in the field before they can get harvested or are damaged during processing and packaging; many food items get tossed on the way to markets and supermarkets on purely cosmetic grounds; at home, by the time we remember food is in the refrigerator, it becomes mouldy; and families prepare multiple meals, increasing the amount of food purchased and wasted. Thus, thousands of pounds of leftovers end up in the trash.

It starts with us – We can make ‘Not Wasting Food’ a Way of Life!

“Man should exercise his discretion and discrimination in regard to food habits.”
– Sathya Sai Speaks Ch.27/Vol.3: January 21, 1994

A vast amount of natural resources are required to produce food and Mother Nature provides all the necessary elements needed for it to grow. We should appreciate the importance of food in our lives and the role of Mother Nature in giving that food to us, and so avoid any wastage.

DOWNLOAD Study Circle Guide -– Get a deeper appreciation of how food is a manifestation of God, the importance of COD in the context of food and minimising waste.

DOWNLOAD ESC guidelines for sustainable food and consumption for events

We are delighted to share with you an online cookbook containing 108 delicious vegetarian recipes from around the world. Let’s learn to preserve our planet through vegetarian food and mindful eating!

DISCOVER exciting new recipes of outstanding Sai chefs from around the world and cook with easy to follow instructions.

With Sai Love and Care,

Environmental Sustainability Committee

Sathya Sai International Organisation