What is Gleaning?
Gleaning is an ancient form of food recovery & support that’s making an amazing modern comeback! It is the gathering of leftover fruits and vegetables from a farm, yard, or garden.
Gleaning has been an important form of social welfare for well over 2,000 years. The Old Testament of The Bible commanded Hebrew farmers to leave a portion of their crops un-harvested and allow poor neighbors and strangers to come onto their land to pick what was left for themselves and their families. In England and France, the government actually protected the rights of rural poor to glean leftover crops from nearby farms.
Picking leftover crops for the local community was an essential part of farm life and the harvest process for hundreds of years, until new private property laws and farming technology began to limit gleaners’ rights. It was common to see people out in fields picking leftover crops until after the end of World War II.
Food insecurity is a broad concept that refers to the many factors at play when people and families don’t have enough food to eat, such as unaffordability, lack of access to transportation or proximity to grocery stores, inadequate nutritional or cultural value of available food, the inability to cook or process food, insecure food supply and supply-chain barriers, and many other details that feed into the bigger picture. Here in Clallam County almost 15% of residents are considered cook-insecure, and our relative geographic isolation and high rates of rural poverty play a big role. Despite all that, Clallam also has a robust agricultural scene and many native and wild food crops. Gleaning can help connect the abundance of backyards and local farms to the emergency food relief system and other venues where our neighbors turn for help in accessing food. As a glean volunteer, you will also get a portion of the harvest, so gleaning can be a great way to save money, stock your pantry, help out community members in need, and prevent the waste of perfectly good food.
Join our Gleaning Programs!
Ready to volunteer to pick fruits and vegetables?
The WSU Clallam Extension office houses two gleaning programs. The Clallam Gleaners connects individual volunteers with homeowners who have produce in their backyards to donate. The Farm Glean Program organizes regular group gleans at local farms, led by an Extension staff member.
- Read how-to on our ‘How to Become a Gleaner‘ page! Pick fruits and veggies for you and your family and donate the rest to people who need food.
- Read how-to ‘Host a Gleaning Crew‘ here. Support others coming to your property to glean fruits and veggies to be shared with those who need it.
- Sign up to receive the online Gleaning Newsletter to find out what fruit and vegetables are available for harvest each week during the growing season.
- Sign into our New Website, this is essential to participate.
Contact the WSU Clallam County Extension Gleaning Coordinator at (360) 565-2619 or email@example.com with any questions.