Director of Project Leket, Guy Yehoshua, an ex-kibbutznik, shares his thoughts on why Project Leket is such an amazing initiative on so many levels. The project rescues hundreds of thousands of pounds of fruits and vegetables each week from farms throughout Israel. Excess produce that would have otherwise been destroyed, is collected by thousands of volunteers and dozens of paid workers and then delivered free of charge to 190 nonprofit organizations serving the needy.
Gleaning the Land with Guy Yehoshua, Project Leket Director
Guy Yehoshua is no stranger to the field. Guy grew up on Kibbutz Barkai located in Israel's north, just 15 km east of Hadera. From the age of thirteen, Guy began working with field crops as part of his mandatory contribution to communal life on the kibbutz. Serving today as Leket Israel's Director for Project Leket (agricultural gleaning), Guy brings over 26 years of experience in agriculture, mechanics, and project management to the organization.
Founded in 2004, Project Leket sends thousands of volunteers and dozens of paid pickers into fields and orchards to gather produce donated or left to rot by farmers. The project rescues hundreds of thousands of pounds of fruits and vegetables each week from farms throughout Israel. Excess produce that would have otherwise been destroyed, is collected through this program and delivered free of charge to 190 nonprofit organizations serving Israel's needy.
Prior to coming to work for Leket Israel in 2008, Guy spent fifteen years working in operations and project management positions in the U.S.
"On a visit back to Israel, a friend introduced me to Leket Israel and I immediately felt a connection to the important mission and resourceful work of the organization, which brought back memories of my kibbutz days," relates Guy.
As a result of the introduction, Guy moved back to Israel and accepted the position of Gleaning Coordinator for the North. A year later, Guy advanced to Director of Project Leket, and became responsible for overseeing the nationwide initiative.
"In the past four years during my time with Leket Israel, Project Leket has expanded from working with a few dozen farmers to 400-500 a year," explains Guy. "Oftentimes, circumstances beyond the farmer's control makes it economically undesirable to harvest and market their crops, and this is where Leket Israel steps in to help."
"Leket Israel evaluates each picking opportunity, making sure it is cost-effective for volunteers or workers to go in and pick the remaining produce. As a result of our service, not only are we being resourceful and developing win-win relationships with the farming community, but the produce is going to benefit the poor who need this nutritious food desperately."
"It really is incredible. From the waste that is being prevented, to the partnerships created in the field, to the needy who benefit from the daily nutrition, Project Leket is a most amazing initiative on so many levels. I feel truly fortunate to be a part of this worthwhile project," concludes Guy.
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