40,000 Show up for Free Food? Police Give Out Parking Tickets!

By Kenneth J. Theisen
// Last Saturday, November 22, 2008 an event took place that says something about present day America. A farm couple in Colorado decided to do something for their neighbors. They opened their farm fields after the harvest to allow people to glean the fields. Gleaning is the ancient practice of picking up farm crops after the regular harvest. Typically some of the crops are left in the fields by machines or harvesters and this gleaning eliminates waste, while feeding people at the same time. I grew up in Iowa and some of my relatives that lived on farms would do this each year. Usually a hundred people or less would show up at the gleaning on my relatives" farms.
But last Saturday, 40,000 people showed up to glean the 600 acre farm 37 miles outside of Denver. Think of it! 40,000 people had the need to show up to pick up leftover crops. The U.S. is the richest nation in the world and yet 40,000 people in one area showed up to get the free food. What does this say about the economy? Granted not everyone probably needed the food because they were too poor to afford it. But I am sure thousands of them did.
It was estimated that the 40,000 people arrived in about 11,000 vehicles. Because of this, many people who came were not able to park legally. The Colorado State Patrol then issued citations to the illegally parked cars. Neighbors helped neighbors and then the state gave out tickets. This also says a lot about the government's role in the present financial crisis. Hundreds of billions are provided to the wealthy and corporations and the poor are given tickets when they try to pick their own food.

Ken Theisen is a veteran activist of movements opposing U.S. imperialism, its wars and domination of countries throughout the world, and an advocate against domestic violence in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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