“So, the agricultural system evolved in such a way to optimize the yield of the fields by developing a sub-system called “gleaning”. Ancient peasants had to deal with a relatively low yield resource: spikes on the ground. Collecting those spikes at a positive yield required a very efficient process. That was done by mobilizing human resources that couldn’t be used for the heavy work of harvesting; women, youngsters and old people. It was done without any equipment, without any formality, without orders, hierarchies or social structures. People just walked in the fields, collecting what they found – that’s gleaning; it was done not just with grains but with all kinds of agricultural products. It looks simple, but it was extremely important in the ancient agricultural society: it is because because it was so efficient. Gleaning has a fundamental place in the Bible and it is still legal to do it in some places. Not everywhere, though. At the time of Stalin, in the Soviet Union, you were shot in place if they discovered you gleaning. So, you see, even gleaning seems to be somewhat subversive. But it is likely that many of our ancestors have survived because they could glean their food. And so we are here today!”

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