This year’s World Environment Day on June 5th, is focused on Connecting People to Nature, with various NGOs devoting their efforts towards linking their members back towards that which was given to us to enjoy from Day One.
But one organization is taking the effort a little farther. Leading the world’s largest gleaning program, the theme is being taken especially seriously at Leket Israel- The National Food Bank (www.leket.org/en/). With more than 55,000 annual volunteers from Israel and abroad, there’s a huge force prepared to work the land while rescuing fresh food for those most in need.
Rescuing “ugly produce”
Officials at the organization say that Leket also provides the platform for farmers across the country to effectively and efficiently manage their crops in an environmentally-friendly way.
Uriel Ben-Itzhak, farmer at Moshav Keshet, an apple orchard that has been donating excess produce to Leket Israel for over five years explains that Leket Israel is organized, efficient and effective. “It provides a valuable solution to our needs as farmers while also affording us the opportunity to partake in giving back to society.
“It is important to me that my hard work is not in vain,” Ben-Itzhak says. “After investing so much energy, effort, time and care into my fruit, they are put to good use rather than left to rot on trees.”
Volunteerism as agent of change
World Environment Day has become known as The People’s Day in that above all, World Environment Day is the people’s day for doing something to take care of the Earth or to become an agent of change.”
Leket Israel’s volunteers glean, sort and pack high quality surplus fruits and vegetables that have been rescued for delivery to its nonprofit partners, providing food to 175,000+ needy people weekly.
“What better way to reconnect people with nature than by encouraging them to get out and get their hands dirty,” commented Joseph Gitler, Leket Israel’s Founder and Chairman.
“Leket is rescuing 17,000 tons of nutritious food from destruction thanks to its dedicated and invaluable volunteers.”