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Sun Dec 2, 2012, 10:29 PM

 

A sign of the overwhelming poverty in the rural SE

Last edited Sun Dec 2, 2012, 11:34 PM - Edit history (1)

Riding past a soybean field last week I saw several cars parked by the field and many more people scavenging soybeans that the harvesting machinery had left behind.

They were all bent down on all fours as they sifted through the scrum and dumping their finds into five gallon buckets. I have never seen this before.

It is hard to ride a motorcycle with tears in your eyes.


On edit. For the gleaning fans that are saying this is just great that they are doing this:

THESE ARE SOYBEANS!!! They are the size of a small pea. They are earth tone in color and buried in the shards of the bushes that cover them in the earth of the same color as the bean. To find these beans one would have to sift through the detritus one handful at a time. This is not picking up chestnuts, apples or pecans or whatever. This is desperation.

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Arrow 20 replies Author Time Post
Reply A sign of the overwhelming poverty in the rural SE (Original post)
Whovian Dec 2012 OP
d_r Dec 2012 #1
nolabear Dec 2012 #2
lunasun Dec 2012 #3
Whovian Dec 2012 #5
scarletwoman Dec 2012 #6
bluestate10 Dec 2012 #7
scarletwoman Dec 2012 #4
msongs Dec 2012 #8
newfie11 Dec 2012 #9
On the Road Dec 2012 #10
Whovian Dec 2012 #11
dem in texas Dec 2012 #12
Bigmack Dec 2012 #13
scarletwoman Dec 2012 #14
Whovian Dec 2012 #15
scarletwoman Dec 2012 #17
Whovian Dec 2012 #18
WCGreen Dec 2012 #16
Mothdust Dec 2012 #19
JanMichael Dec 2012 #20

Response to Whovian (Original post)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 10:35 PM

1. damn I've never seen that

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Response to Whovian (Original post)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 10:40 PM

2. Possibly. Not necessarily

Not that there isn't poverty. There is. But when I was a kid my grandfather was a really smart gleaner, and we knew others who didn't think twice about taking opportunities where they could find them. There were lots of pecan orchards that were no longer harvested, apple trees in old properties that gave pretty good fruit, and quite a few people went on excursions to make use of a free and nourishing food source. You often see Vietnamese and other SE Asian people gleaning greens that are very good but not a common part of the American diet. It just makes sense to them, and to me.

So, maybe, but maybe not. But as I said, that's not to diminish very real struggles, and I appreciate your compassion.

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Response to nolabear (Reply #2)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 10:44 PM

3. +1

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Response to nolabear (Reply #2)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 10:55 PM

5. I've lived here and in this area for 40-50 years and have never seen this before.

 

These aren't apples or pecans, these are soybeans. A not very desirable dish to most but a good source of protein. Also, I can imagine they are much harder to find in a mown field than an apple or pecan would be as they rested under a tree.

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Response to nolabear (Reply #2)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 10:58 PM

6. Thanks. Gleaning is an old tradition in lots of rural areas.

The gleaners may well be impoverished - well-off people who can afford all the food they want from a grocery store probably wouldn't bother - but getting free food in exchange for a few hours of labor is a decent trade-off for plenty of people.

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Response to nolabear (Reply #2)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 11:19 PM

7. I harvested plums, apples, pears and pecans off trees on abandoned or public property

when I wad a boy. The fruit was good.

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Response to Whovian (Original post)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 10:45 PM

4. It's called "gleaning", and it's a millenia's old practice.

When the owner of a field has completed their harvest, the field is opened to whoever wants to come along and pick what was left behind. It's free food - nothing wrong with that. I've done it myself in my younger days. There's nothing ignoble about it, it's simply a way to get some extra foodstuffs with a little manual labor.

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Response to Whovian (Original post)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 11:21 PM

8. we used to glean the potato fields in ND back in the 60's...food going to waste...

although our family didnt NEED to do that we did it because for us it was an interesting diversion not a necessity

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Response to Whovian (Original post)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 11:24 PM

9. I have done it myself for potatoes

You would be amazed how much is left in the fields to rot. Yes I could afford to buy them in the store but these we just dug and free in a neighbors field. Also our daughter does that with feed corn and gets enough for treats for her mules for a year off our field.
It really is a shame more folks can't do this. As I said so much is left in the fields that could be used.

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Response to Whovian (Original post)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 11:26 PM

10. Leviticus 19:10

'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.

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Response to Whovian (Original post)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 11:35 PM

11. Kicking for an edit to the OP. n/t

 

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Response to Whovian (Original post)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 11:39 PM

12. I have been a gleaner for years.

I have harvested left over crops for years. When we lived in an area in Western Kentucky that grew popcorn and it was harvested, there would be ears left behind, mostly at the end of rows where the harvester had to turn. We'd pick up the ears and take them home and remove the corn and put it in jars and we have plenty of good fresh popcorn. I never missed a chance to harvest anything that was offered such as grapes or apples. I go right over, even take a ladder if needed. We would go to abandoned homesteads to find old fruit trees. Grapes made great jelly and I'd peel the apples and put them up in quart bags for the freezer and have plenty of apples for cooking. I used to go to a children's home that a big apple orchard and they would sell the "falls" for a dollar a bushel, what a deal. When we lived in Fairbanks, Alaska, the potato farmers would let you dig in the field after they were done harvesting and you could easily pick up 100 pounds of potatoes for only a few dollars. We always had a huge garden and I also shared my excess crop with anyone who needed it. One place we lived I had apricot trees, I had never seen a fresh apricot, but I had a bumper crop, I made jam, cobblers, pies, froze them and still had plenty to give away. What's wrong with that, what is bad is the food left on the ground to rot and go to waste. It's a good lesson for kids also to do this, we always took our kids along to pick apples or potatoes or whatever.

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Response to Whovian (Original post)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 11:44 PM

13. I prefer the word "scrounge" to "glean"...

I don't limit myself to agricultural crops.

This two-tier society/economy has a lot to offer the accomplished scrounger. I do apples, pears, asparagus.. all kinds of fruit. There is more firewood around than I can handle. We also do deposit containers. All kinds of shit. Sometimes actual shit, too. My garden is well-fertilzed with the horseshit from the rich guys' stables.

They may be doing it out of necessity, or just for sport.

But I think your point is well-taken.

Those fields could become a flash-point for some ugly stuff if the landowners start enforcing "No Tresspassing".

PS. Little secret here... look on Craiglist at the "free" stuff. Lotta crap, but lotta good stuff that you - or a friend - might use.

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Response to Whovian (Original post)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 11:45 PM

14. Soybeans grow in pods - they're not picking out individual beans from the detritus,

they'd be picking out pods which would stand out readily enough.

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Response to scarletwoman (Reply #14)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 11:49 PM

15. The pods are most often broken after spraying to kill the plants before harvesting.

 

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Response to Whovian (Reply #15)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 11:57 PM

17. Not sure why spraying would break the pods - but I'll take your word for it.

The thing is, I guess I just can't work up any sense of horror about people wanting to glean a soybean field. They've chosen to go to the trouble of doing it, for whatever reasons they may have. If they think it's worth it, then more power to them.

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Response to scarletwoman (Reply #17)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 12:10 AM

18. After spraying the herbicide everything dies and dries up.

 

Nothing against gleaning here, but gleaning soybeans a a very labor intensive work.

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Response to Whovian (Original post)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 11:53 PM

16. When we were broke the summer I lived in Oregon....

We would head to the strawberry patches and join the migrant workers to help make it through the week.

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Response to Whovian (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 01:56 AM

19. japanese people call them edomome

If you boil the pods a few minutes with a little soy sauce and a dash of sesame oil and a pinch of red hot pepper then strain and let cool before popping open the pods, just like peanuts in shells, you will have a healthful nutritious snack which is better than junk food and cheaper. You can get them frozen at Costco in Hawaii.

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Response to Whovian (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 06:52 AM

20. Churches in the SE are organizing gleaners to take the slow food to food

banks, and distribute it otherwise. If you saw a group, that's quite possibly what it was.

It's a pretty cool idea to team up with the "slow food" movement.

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