After the Harvest family gleaning day

Kids love kale (and apples and potatoes and…)

Kids love kale (and apples and potatoes and…)

By Suzy Conaway (longtime VEG Squad and Produce Rescue Driver volunteer. Pictured here in her all white “gleaning uniform”.)

Okay. Maybe kids don’t like to eat kale, but they love gleaning it! I’ve been with After the Harvest since its beginning and I’ve gleaned with lots of kids: Scout troops, church groups, busloads of school kids, parents with kids, my own grandkids. And there’s one universal principle: Kids love to glean!

With all these kids, one would think there would be the occasional problem child. But there have been none. I can’t remember any child acting up during a gleaning. The kids get in the fields or orchards and do the job with joy and excitement. Even three- and four-year-olds can be really good gleaners! My granddaughter was three on her first gleaning and has loved doing it ever since.  She’s twelve now and still gleaning.

The biggest problem I’ve ever had is getting them to stop!  “Your parents are waiting for you!” gets this response: “Just one more row, Miss Suzy!” or “one more bag” or one more whatever we’re gleaning. They don’t want to quit! This is what I call a WAGPTH – What A Great Problem To Have!

Gleaning with kids has multiple benefits:

1.    It gets kids away from the tv/computer games, etc. and out into the fresh air. And it’s great exercise as well.

2.    They learn that fruits and vegetables don’t grow in the room behind the produce section at Price Chopper.

3.    Best of all, it teaches kids that helping others is a good thing!  They not only have fun, but they feel a sense of pride in being ‘good-deed-doers’.

So, for a great summertime outing, think about bringing your children or grandchildren or neighbor children or whatever kids you can snag to a glean. Suggest it to your church youth groups, local Scout troops or any other kid groups you know about. 

All in all, taking kids gleaning beats computer games. And they may even learn to like kale – to eat! Sign up to glean now through November with After the Harvest.