The Handbook of Diverse Economies
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The Handbook of Diverse Economies

Edited by J. K. Gibson-Graham and Kelly Dombroski

Economic diversity abounds in a more-than-capitalist world, from worker-recuperated cooperatives and anti-mafia social enterprises to caring labour and the work of Earth Others, from fair trade and social procurement to community land trusts, free universities and Islamic finance. The Handbook of Diverse Economies presents research that inventories economic difference as a prelude to building ethical ways of living on our dangerously degraded planet. With contributing authors from twenty countries, it presents new thinking around subjectivity and methodology as strategies for making other worlds possible.
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Chapter 22: Gleaning: transactions at the nexus of food, commons and waste

Oona Morrow


Gleaning, the practice of harvesting surplus crops at their source, has taken place for hundreds of years. The persistence of gleaning, alongside market-based forms of food provisioning, is an opportunity to examine how the food surplus of capitalist and feudal food economies can be appropriated for other uses, and support diverse economic practices. Presently, gleaning happens in informal and organized ways, and has long been a part of food security efforts in Europe and North America. Attention to the global scandal of food waste has generated increased support for gleaning efforts. This chapter examines the history of gleaning, the laws that support gleaning, and the post-capitalist ‘afterlives’ of gleaned food in a contemporary food sharing enterprise. Reflecting on these histories, the chapter makes a case for re-embedding gleaning practices in the commons.

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