Going for Gleaning Gold!

By Jean Blish Siers *

As athletes from around the world compete, some people in Rio de Janeiro will be eating at a restaurant run by Italian chef Massimo Bottura. His restaurant, Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy, was recently named the top restaurant in the world. But those dining at Refettorio Ambrosiano won’t be the rich and famous. Instead, Bottura and a host of 30 other guest chefs will serve dinners created from surplus Olympic Village food to the needy and hungry of Rio.

Bottura opened a similar restaurant in Milan during the 2015 Expo Milan. In an abandoned theater, he transformed 15 tons of salvaged food into more than 10,000 meals, feeding refugees, the homeless, and the working poor with food that would have been tossed out and become trash.

During the Olympics, the 108-seat restaurant in the Lapa neighborhood will be open for dinner each day. The food, some cooked but most raw, will come from caterers in the Olympic Village, as well as other sponsors and grocers in Brazil. There, it will be transformed into three-course meals.

Using his new celebrity, Bottura plans to continue his mission to stop food waste and feed those in need. He has started a nonprofit called Food for the Soul, and plans to open soup kitchens in such cities as Montreal, Berlin, New York City, and Modena. And after the Olympics’ closing ceremonies, the restaurant site in Rio will become a culinary school, helping the city’s poor learn a trade, while providing a sustainable alternative to food waste.

On Eater.com, Bottura says, “We, contemporary chefs, are going to think, at least for one day, as our grandmothers did. We want to explain to the world what is possible to do with an overripe banana, an ugly tomato, or with breadcrumbs. The answer to the universal exposure that I am having now is: fight waste. I hope I can make people think more about that. That would make my prize (the World’s 50 Best designation) worth its while.”

Society of St. Andrew has been fighting food waste and working hard to educate people that it’s simply unsustainable to throw away 40% of what we produce. It’s exciting and encouraging having voices such as Boturra’s join us!

* Jean Blish Siers is SoSA’s Charlotte Area Gleaning Coordinator.



In the event I, or a registered family member, suffers any illness or accident requiring emergency hospitalization, medication, or other medical assistance while participating in a gleaning event, permission is given for any medical treatment which is deemed necessary and reasonable under the circumstances. I fully understand and comprehend that reasonable care will be exercised by the adult staff for this gleaning event to protect the safety of those involved. I understand that the field supervisor’s instructions must be followed at all times, and that I am responsible for any damages caused to fields, farms, or equipment by me/my family members not following these instructions.

Photos, videos, and other images in which I, or a registered family member, appear that are taken during gleanings may be used by the Society of St. Andrew for news coverage, newsletters, reports, displays, and for other print, broadcast, web, or electronic news or promotional purposes.

I do not hold the board, members, or employees of the Society of St. Andrew (SoSA,) or any volunteers liable for injury, bodily harm, accidents, or death of myself/my child during events sponsored by the Society of St. Andrew. Neither will I hold the person(s) who owns and/or operates the property from which we glean, salvage, or to which we deliver food, liable for accidents, injury, or death during the gleanings or other SoSA events.

For a PDF print version of this waiver, click here.

How the Story of the 12 Baskets is Connected to SoSA’s Name

Matthew 14:16-21

But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat!” They said to Him, “We have here only five loaves and two fish.” And He said, “Bring them here to Me.” Ordering the people to sit down on the grass, He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food, and breaking the loaves He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds, and they all ate and were satisfied. They picked up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve full baskets. There were about five thousand men who ate, besides women and children.

2 Kings 4:42-44

[…]the man of God […] said, “Give them to the people that they may eat.” His attendant said, “What, will I set this before a hundred men?” But he said, “Give them to the people that they may eat, for thus says the Lord, ‘They shall eat and have some left over.’” So he set it before them, and they ate and had some left over, according to the word of the Lord.