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Washington State University Extension

How to Become a Gleaner

Ready to Harvest Local Fruit?!Blueberries in Cup

Harvesting residential fruit looks like going to a home with your ladder and boxes ready to work. Let’s get into the details of how to go about it.

  • Sign up on our new website to be a volunteer at
  • Check the website regularly to see what gleans are posted
  • When you see a glean you are interested in, sign up to ‘Lead’ the glean.

Leading a glean just means you signed up for it and you arrange it with the homeowner. You may invite others to glean with you, if the homeowners are ok with that. Once you sign up to lead a glean, you will receive an email with details about access to the property, the homeowners phone number, what tools may be needed such as ladders, and then you call the homeowner to schedule the day and time and hear any specifics that are relevant to that site.

Please keep in mind the ‘3 C’s of Gleaning

  1. Call to arrange the glean and listen to the specifics the homeowner shares with you and ask any questions you may have about that location and fruit.
  2. Come prepared with ladders, buckets, boxes, etc.
  3. Carry through on your commitment or cancel. The homeowner will be expecting you, so please be courteous and communicate if you need to change or cancel the plan.

Post glean, please enter data about the glean into our website. When you ask to lead a glean, the info email will contain a link to a data form for you to fill out after you have finished the glean. The link will ask you to describe the site, the number of pounds you harvested plus where you distributed some of the harvest.

The expectation is that you share about 50% of what you glean with organizations or institutions that support those in need, this includes you sharing it with elderly neighbors, food banks, churches, schools, or other civic groups, like the Boys and Girls Club or Senior Center. You can enter that into the post glean data form.

Gleaning is a great way to build community, while spreading the wealth of the harvest. Some homeowners enjoy the process so much that they request the same gleaner year after year. Although the goal is to reduce food waste and increase food access, community building is a great bonus.

If you are a foodie, gleaning is a great way to try new varieties, as in new to you. Many of the varieties that are gleaned are from very old orchards with heritage varieties, often mysterious in name and mostly not sprayed. There are many beautiful places with old, abandoned orchards to discover gleaning. Take the afternoon and treat it as a special event with friends or family to contribute to food access while having an adventure that is delicious and active outside.

Finally, if you are at a glean of a senior citizen who can no longer pick their fruit, please make a gesture of sharing the fruit with the homeowner. Offer them a bag. Again, this is a generous way to make a friend and honor the kindness that they have extended.

Harvest Produce from a Farm

Different from a residential gleans, most farm gleans are in organized groups. Learn more about Farm Gleaning here.

The Farm Gleaning group tends to run on a scheduled day of the week, and all meet up to harvest crop/s together regularly. These farm produce gleans are donated to community meals, little free pantries, and food banks. If you are interested in joining a farm glean, contact Benji Astrachan to learn more: or 360-460-7850.