The Gleaners


gleaners.jpg At dinner the other night, someone suggested I look up a film called “The Gleaners and I” about some crazy French law that says after harvest farmers must let peasants onto their land to pick through leftover produce. There are some famous French paintings of the activity and the film evidently delves deeper into the issue and carries us all the way up to present day society. It’s at the top of my Netflix queue, but I couldn’t wait to post this here and to share this informative link on the topic. I’m kind of shocked I’d never heard of gleaning or the film before. They sound kind of like early freegans.

Pictured here, François Millet‘s “The Gleaners”

Update: A friend just emailed the following: “The concept of gleaning is actually much older than an obscure French law – according to Jewish biblical teachings, farmers were required to not reap all the way to the edges of their fields and not to pick up anything they dropped along the way so as to leave some for the poor and for strangers.”  Thanks, friend!

18 Responses to “The Gleaners”

  1. maxwell Says:

    ooh! i’ve seen The Gleaners. it’s great! if only the majority of our fields weren’t covered with nearly inedible, frankenstien corn, it’d be a great antiquated laws to set up here.

  2. everydaytrash Says:

    Yes, it’s very sad to think about farms in America. I think we need another local potluck to restore our faith in our soil to produce good things!

  3. Little Shiva Says:

    Wow, thanx for the history, that’s interesting!

  4. DumpsterTaoist Says:

    This film is a must-see for all trashies. I saw it in the theater when it came out, and met the filmmaker Agnes Varda at a special screening. I admire her work and asked her for an autograph, but she was all Frenchy and rude to me. Still a good film though 😛


  5. everydaytrash Says:

    Man, DT. You always know about stuff in advance!

  6. dumpstertaoist Says:

    Thanks, Leila. It’s nice to know all this time spent thinking about trash isn’t a total waste, literally…. 🙂

  7. everydaytrash Says:

    I finally saw it this weekend, very fun.

  8. Diane Oatley Says:

    This was interesting – in Gérard Bertolini’s talk in Oslo at the Trash Art/Found Objects seminar he made reference to Scwhitters and “the street gleaners”. (I orginally corrected this to street cleaner when I did the translation of his text for the catalogue, an interesting slip in its own right), – beyond that of my igorance on the subject – the play/slippage between clean vs. glean). I have however been unable to find any further references to street gleaners. Do you have any? Does anyone?

  9. everydaytrash Says:

    In the US, street gleaners often refer to themselves as “freegans”.

  10. More gleaning « everydaytrash Says:

    […] the French law requiring farmers to allow peasants to collect the leftovers after seasonal harvests that I posted on last week. It was fantastic. Complete with a very present eccentric narrator. For others who haven’t […]

  11. Hard times call for gleaning (new study) « everydaytrash Says:

    […] times call for gleaning (new study) By Leila Darabi The French have a long, proud history (protected by law and immortalized in film) of preventing produce waste by opening up their farms after harvest to […]

  12. Hard times call for gleaning (new study) | 1800blogger Says:

    […] French have a long, proud history (protected by law and immortalized in film) of preventing produce waste by opening up their farms after harvest to […]

  13. Hard times call for gleaning (new study) | Conservation Blog Says:

    […] French have a long, proud history (protected by law and immortalized in film) of preventing produce waste by opening up their farms after harvest to […]

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