How can we effectively help the 50 million Americans who are food insecure? Think tanks, Senate and House committees, non-profit organizations, philosophers and individuals have all thought long and hard about this concern. According to the USDA, the $26.7 billion Wall Street bonuses would cover meals for the 17.6 million food insecure households for at least a month. But no one expects Wall Street to fit the bill. Even the most altruistic of businessmen would recognize the poor investment. By relying on handouts alone, the month’s needs are only postponed until another $25 Billion is due four weeks later!
But what if something as simple as a sign (and someone like you), was all that’s necessary for a more sustainable approach to ending poverty?
A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Dollars
Find Your Neighbors
In Old Town Prague, Czech Republic, buildings from the Middle Ages show how largely illiterate citizens could find homes without street signs. Rather than needing to follow a map or even know the language, folks were directed to doors with the elephant, lion, ring, or golden sun.
Get a Meal
My husband’s grandmother FONDLY remembers the Great Depression as a time when neighbors helped each other, doors were always open and in a time of scarcity, everyone seemed to have enough.
An itinerant worker, called a Hobo, was a new career which sprang up during the 1920’s and 30’s. In order to find sustenance in exchange for work, they invented a form of graffiti that communicated various things: a curly line inside a circle, for example, meant a courthouse is nearby. Other symbols were simplistic and easier to decipher: a cross meant that hobos who were willing to talk positively about religion would score a free meal.
As a woman who grew up in the 80’s, McGruff the Crime Dog was everywhere. I knew that entering homes with his image were safe if I were lost, scared or in need of help. And for young children, too young to read, the logo conveyed the meaning without words.
An Image Could Save a Thousand Lives
Like the logos above, the Glean sign is meant to convey similar ideas- here is a place you can safely obtain fresh food and connect with neighbors.
Gleaning is to gather grain or other material that is left after the main crop has been gathered. If the sign is present in a garden, farm or orchard, passers-by may harvest the remaining food. Use the sign to feed yourself healthy food or donate the harvested crops to anyone who wants or needs it (neighbors or local charities, faith-based organizations, food pantries). Those who display the sign are generous and aware that their extras can help improve the health of their community, decrease food waste and improve the environment.
This Logo can earn you $200
We want you to get your creative juices flowing and show us how the Glean logo can be used in your neck of the woods! Until Sept 1st, we will collect your stories and images to find out how you can bring gleaning to your community. As they are submitted, we will post them on the Glean For Good Facebook page for you to share and vote on favorites.
How do I submit my entry?
Like us on Glean For Good’s Facebook page and post your submission there. Please include stories, links, photos and anything else that adds to your story. We would all enjoy details about why you decided to participate, how the sign was created, and how you hope to improve your neighborhood.
How will you decide on a winner?
To be eligible for the contest, participants need to submit their entry by Sept 1st. On Oct 1st, the post with the most likes on the Glean For Good FB page will be declared the winner.
Do I need to have a garden?
No! The logo can be gifted to a gardener friend, placed in a community or school garden or simply submitted as your brilliant version for admirers to replicate at home.
Can you give an example of a submission?
For my 40th birthday, my girlfriend gifted me a gorgeous Glean sign as created by an Etsy artist. The sign moves through my garden based on what is growing. If you are passing by my house today, the sign is among 20# of jalapeño peppers that my family cannot possibly consume.
Ron Finley, self described as a Gangta Gardener, is one of my inspirations for this project. With only the help of his sole employee and some passionate friends, Ron was able to raise a half a million dollars though a gofundme campaign. He now owns his HQ, home and garden outright. Growing just about everything- pumpkins, corn, kale… he doesn’t live in a climate worthy of snow. That’s why I’ve sent him this metallic Glean sign along with some South Dakota maple syrup to round out his breakfast!
Although you have the chance to win $200, we know the most rewarding part is knowing your sign could make a real impact on those who need it most. Hopefully you find your display one that gives you a reward bigger than any we could give you.
If you love food, hate waste, care about the environment or want to connect with your community, consider displaying the Glean logo in your yard. Oh! And I almost forgot… you automatically win if you tattoo yourself with the Glean Logo (spouces not eligible for competition)!