Haley Becker Intern and leader of Field & Fork's gleaning program

By: Olivia Stultz & Paxton Evans

Haley Becker is a University of Florida senior majoring in sustainability studies and minoring in organic and sustainable crop production. In order to gain hands-on experience in the field and knowledge about sustainable agriculture, she works at Field & Fork as a gleaning intern at the student gardens.

The student gardens are operated by Field & Fork staff and volunteers.

Haley’s plant science background extends from her interest in agriculture, cultivated through her sustainability classes. She originally found out about the Field & Fork internship program while looking for a sustainability-related internship. She always knew volunteers helped run the gardens but wasn’t aware of the internships Field & Fork offered until she saw them posted online.

Haley's internship requires her to glean produce and create a community-wide gleaning program.

The specific project she is working on to create a community-wide gleaning program. Gleaning is the process by which the edible left-overs of an initial harvest are collected. It has been used for thousands of years, primarily as a way to feed the poor or stay frugal. Today, gleaning isn’t used as much as it is costly to rehire labor for a second harvest and consumers may not be used to the by-products (such as broccoli leaves). Gleaning has quite the impact on Florida agriculture. Even though it is costly, it prevents edible food from going to waste, which can then be used to feed consumers who are willing to try something new and help support food banks.

Haley gleans the leaves of a broccoli plant. They are edible to humans, yet many people do not know they can be eaten.

“I think the wonderful thing about gleaning is that not only are we helping to reduce food waste, about 50% of all food that we grow does go to waste, it helps people who are food insecure.”

Snap peas are one of the many produce grown at the student gardens. Haley gleans a few for us to try.

Haley’s favorite aspect of her gleaning project is the people she works with and the overall environment. She explained, “...everyone is so kind and welcoming, it really is like a small family between all of the interns…It’s just wonderful to be doing something that is genuinely good for the community.” Haley hopes the outcome of her gleaning project is to become a reality in the entire Gainesville community.

Haley has greatly appreciated the guidance received by other Field & Fork staff and volunteers.

The mission of Field & Fork is to eliminate food insecurity at the University of Florida. Field & Fork is battling food insecurity by bringing people of all backgrounds together to provide free food to students and faculty. They use the student gardens to supply fresh fruits and veggies to the pantry. Students can get involved with Field & Fork through volunteering or interning. More information about when these opportunities will become available on their website.

Paxton Evans (middle) and Olivia Stultz (right) take a selfie with Haley Becker after covering her story. Paxton and Olivia are both majoring in Agricultural Education and Communication with a specialization in Communication and Leadership Development. The story serves as a final project for their Spring class.


Olivia Stultz, Paxton Evans

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