Strawberry Fields–Not Forever

ABC News story that I alluded to on Friday ran on Saturday night. If you haven’t watched it, I’d say it’s worth your time.

First, I’m really glad to see network news coverage of food waste, as will raise awareness on the issue. Second, I had such a visceral aversion to seeing that worker chop up.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t terribly surprised by the report. Fruits and vegetables often aren’t picked when growers don’t feel they can get a price that justifies harvesting. Growers need to make a living and if the cost of harvesting a crop is greater than the return they’d get for selling it, they’re not going to harvest. Now, when they don’t harvest because they won’t make enough of a profit…

Either way, if farmers aren’t going to pick their crops, they really should invite gleaning groups to harvest them. If they fear a lawsuit for an injury, just get people to sign a simple waiver.

I wish ABC had focused more on the farm that invited all comers to take the crops they weren’t using, instead of just mentioning it at the end. The same kind of “free-for-all” event at a Colorado farm made news in 2008.

I was confused about why they were chopping them instead of just tilling them under. Wouldn’t it just be cheaper to just till them under? Since I’m not a strawberry grower–commercial or recreational–I’ll assume there’s a decent reason.

The timing of this segment was apt, as just today I bought Florida strawberries on sale at the market. Now I know why they were on special.

What did you think of the segment? And do farmers have any obligation to try to get food to those in need?

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