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Gleaning Benefits Food Bank

Gleaning means picking and gathering fruits and vegetables that remain in orchards and fields after traditional harvesting is over. This produce, that would otherwise go to waste, will be transported back to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.  It is then distributed to over 350 member agencies serving low-income communities in southwestern Pennsylvania.

Both individuals and groups are welcome to glean!

Depending on the farm, time of day and type of crop(s) we are gleaning, 5–25 people may participate.  We welcome individuals and families with children ages 7 and over, or groups ages 12 and over to participate in gleaning events.  Gleaning volunteers must provide their own transportation to the farm. Harvesting supplies, boxes, water and snacks will be provided by the food bank.

Gleaning is a great way
     to experience a working farm,
           spend a few hours in the fresh air,
                and help feed your neighbors at the same time!

Please contact Deidra Gross, Volunteer Coordinator, or by calling 412-460-3663 x 211.  

Sign up to receive alerts:

The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank has developed a new database to help them streamline recruitment and scheduling of glean volunteers.  Please go to www.pittsburghfoodbank.org/glean before July 30 and fill out the form to add yourself the new glean volunteer database.  The simple form takes no more than a couple of minutes — it asks for your contact information, and the areas and times that you are available to glean.  Once you fill out and submit the form, you will be entered into their database and will start to receive glean alerts only for the gleans which you indicated on the form.  If you have any questions, or prefer to update your information over the phone, please contact Malcolm Meyer or at 412-460-3663, ext. 214.

So Are You Ready to Glean?  Here are a few HINTS:

  1. Try to dress in layers, for example a lightweight long-sleeved shirt over a T-shirt.  We recommend that you wear long pants for protection against scratches or poison ivy.
  2. Wear closed-toe shoes that support your ankles and can get dirty.  Please, no sandals!
  3. Bathroom facilities are unavailable at most gleaning fields, so use facilities before coming to the farm.
  4. The Food Bank will provide water and snacks, and we’ll take a break halfway through the glean. However, we encourage you to drink water throughout the glean and take extra breaks if you need them.
  5. We normally will glean even in a light rain, but if the weather is uncertain or if it’s raining heavily the day of your glean, please call Malcolm Meyer, the gleaning coordinator, at 412-812-0446 before you set out. This is a cell phone that will only be turned on the day of the glean.
  6. If you are concerned about insects or insect borne diseases, you may bring insect repellant for your own use.  Please put the repellant on prior to entering the fields and please wash your hands before handling the fruits or vegetables.  The food bank can provide further information on insect borne diseases upon request.
  7. For each glean, the Food Bank will provide:  harvesting tools and boxes, gloves, hand wipes, water, snacks, and first aid kit.
  8. You should bring:  hat and/or sunglasses, sun block, sturdy shoes or sneakers, insect repellant and raingear.

And RULES to keep in mind:

  1. All volunteers must sign a liability waiver form at each glean attended. Gleaners under 18 years of age should have the waiver signed by their parents or group leader.
  2. NO SMOKING is permitted in the fields. Tobacco often carries a virus that can infect crops.
  3. Please remember that we are on someone else’s property and treat it with respect:
    · Stay with the group at all times.
    · No throwing food or crops.
    · Please pick up any litter before you go.
  4. It is Food Bank policy that volunteers may not take any gleaned produce home for personal use.  However, if you would like produce to go to a particular charity in the Food Bank network, we will try to accommodate your request.  Please call Deirdra for details: 412-460-3663 x 211.
  5. Please follow the gleaning coordinator’s instructions in the fields. She can cancel a gleaning at any time if she feels the rules are not being followed.
  6. Please stay away from farm machinery, animals, or ponds, and don’t climb trees.

Gleans Occur:

     June through November
     Weekdays and Saturdays
     Approximately three hours each

Gleaning Areas:

Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Indiana, Washington and Westmoreland Counties

Click here for a downloadable flyer with all of the details!


Know of any larger farms in the area
that could be added to the gleaning list?
Please call Malcolm Meyer at 412-460-3663 x 214.