What is gleaning?

Gleaning is the collection or harvest of surplus vegetables and fruits from local farms, gardens, and backyard fruit trees.

The mission of the Thurston County Food Bank’s Gleaning Program is to provide an abundance of fresh, local produce to our neighbors facing food insecurity. Our strategy is to partner with local farmers and gardeners to rescue surplus produce, increasing access to nutritious food while reducing food waste.

We have fun while working hard!

Our volunteers return because they can see and feel the difference they're making;
redirecting food, bonding with our staff and volunteers, and learning about agriculture!

Our gleaning program began when partnerships were formed. In 2009 Rotary First Harvest (RFH) placed the first ‘Harvest Against Hunger’ AmeriCorps Vistas at the Thurston County Food Bank. One of those Vistas laid the foundation for the program and was involved for 10 years!

Prior to the collaborative efforts of RFH and AmeriCorps, Thurston County had an independent coalition of community members who actively gleaned around the community with donations benefitting the Thurston County Food Bank. Eventually the program dissolved, giving way to a need within our community to organize an active volunteer gleaning group.

We are thrilled that you're interested in becoming a gleaning volunteer with the Thurston County Food Bank! Participating in this rewarding outdoor activity helps both to reduce food waste and to provide abundant, fresh, nutritious produce to fight food insecurity for our neighbors in need. You'll enjoy forming relationships and sharing stories in the fields, all while enjoying fresh air and getting your hands dirty for the sake of helping others.