Founded in 2005, Project Leket is an initiative that sends tens of thousands of volunteers and dozens of paid pickers into Israeli fields and orchards to gather produce donated or left unpicked by farmers. In 2013, the project was responsible for collecting nearly 20 million lbs of fruits and vegetables from hundreds of farms throughout Israel. All produce is delivered free of charge to 180 nonprofit organizations serving Israel's needy.
Modern Israel is blessed with a thriving agricultural sector. Kibbutzim, farmers and large corporations combine each year to produce more than enough fruit and vegetables to satisfy the needs of all Israelis, and some exported products like Jaffa oranges are considered prize possessions abroad.
But the downside to this overabundance is waste. Some farmers find it unprofitable to harvest all the produce their fields have given, while others simply cannot pick their entire crop before it begins to rot. In both cases, tens of thousands of tons of fresh fruits and vegetables are wasted each year.
Project Leket is our attempt to reverse this phenomenon. Rather than let good healthful food go to waste, Israeli farmers are recruited to donate produce from their fields rather than allowing it to rot and go to waste.
Each year, tens of thousands of volunteers from Israel and abroad enter fields and orchards to rescue fruits and vegetables; of these 70% are children and young adults. Many of our young adult volunteers from overseas are visiting Israel as part of Birthright groups, Zionist organizations, Bnai Mitzvah projects, and family groups. A significant number of volunteers also come from the staff of Israeli corporations, national service groups, and Israel Defense Forces, among others.
Project Leket was inspired by the Bible, which states:
When you reap your harvest in your field and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be left for the alien, the orphan, and the widow, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all your undertakings. (Deuteronomy 24:19)
For volunteer Leket opportunities, or to make a reservation for a large group, please contact our office at (09) 744-1757, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. From overseas, please dial +972 9 744-1757.
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