Date of Completion


Document Type

Honors College Thesis



Thesis Type

Honors College

First Advisor

Teresa Mares


gleaning, food recapture, food waste, food systems, farming, social capital


The purpose of this study is to examine how the gleaning network in Vermont functions as part of a movement towards disrupting the waste stream, improving food security and individual empowerment, and creating a sustainable food system. Gleaning is the volunteer-based practice of recapturing usable but not sellable food from fields post-harvest. In Vermont, as in other states, this food is then used to improve food access for marginalized populations. Using community-based research methods with the non-profit organization Salvation Farms, this study examines how gleaning in Vermont creates networks between farmers and consumers and how it connects institutions to local farmers. It explains how gleaning shapes people’s perceptions of their food system, how it creates and defines community, and what we can learn about increasing personal investment in the Vermont food system. This thesis will also assess gleaning’s ability to help create more resilience within the food system overall. The practice of gleaning will be demonstrated to be a highly effective tool to create community and interpersonal ties; this will be done through Bourdieu’s theories on social capital and a comprehensive examination of social capital’s role in the food system.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.