What is gleaning?

Gleaning is the collection of leftover crops, both large and small, from farmers' fields after they have been commercially harvested or from fields where it is not economically profitable to harvest. GleanSLO has expanded this definition to include the collection of surplus produce from backyards and gardens of community residents.

How GleanSLO works


From a farmer

I had an excellent experience with GleanSLO. They were easy to work with, scheduling and harvesting went smoothly. Their staff and volunteers were very professional. It’s an all around great organization. I was happy to see my extra corn get to people in need.

-Steve Lechuga, corn grower

From a homeowner

GleanSLO got our bountiful harvest to a place that could do so much good. I was so grateful that someone would come do that. Better for the trees, better for those of our county and better for the environment. I feel great being a part of your commitment.

-Robinette Cantrell, homeowner

From a Neighborhood Harvest Leader

I glean because I love to cook with fresh produce and eat lots of fresh fruit, and I am aware that not everybody can afford these. I don't like any kind of wasting and I am happy to contribute to honoring nature's abundance. I love the physical work and that it lasts only 2 or 3 hours, I love being connected to earth and plants and the other gleaners – there are so many interesting people among gleaners, and it's wonderful to meet them again at another glean.

-Deborah Berger, volunteer

    Many commercial growers and private homeowners have fruit trees, bushes, vines or entire orchards and fields that produce more fresh fruit or vegetables than they can harvest. We invite them to register their crops online. Donations are tax deductible.

    Working closely with growers, our food rescue team organizes harvests to gather the fresh produce. Volunteer pickers sign up online, checking off a liability waiver that protects crop owners.

    The produce collected is distributed by the SLO Food Bank and our network of agency partners to serve to our neighbors in need. Over 31,000 San Luis Obispo County residents are served by the Food Bank every month.

GleanSLO Safety Guidelines

  • Ladders: See GleanSLO Ladder Safety Video for detailed instructions. No one under age 16 is permitted to use orchard ladders.
  • Lifting: full produce crates and heavy equipment should always be team lifted with at least two people with proper lifting technique.
  • Knives & Clippers: When using harvest knives, one cut-proof glove is required on the user's non-cutting hand. Cloth gardening gloves or cut-proof gloves are highly encouraged for use of pruning sheers when harvesting tree fruit.
  • Attire & Footwear: Sun and eye protection is highly encouraged, as well as sleeves for citrus harvesting and no loose clothing. Gleaners must wear close-toed shoes.
  • Volunteer Age Policy

    Kid- and teen-friendly harvests are noted in the harvest description of harvest events, and are determined based on permission from grower, equipment needed to harvest, and restroom availability. See below for age guidelines.

    • Kids age 4-12: Only permitted at harvests listed as "kid friendly". Guardian must register themselves to volunteer and provide the name and age of each child they will be responsible for upon signup. Children are the full responsibility of the guardian during the glean. Guardian must provide a signed copy of our volunteer waiver & liability agreement for each child present. No ladder use is permitted.
    • Teens age 13-15: Required to register as a volunteer, must have a guardian present at the harvest for active supervision, and must provide a printed, signed copy of our volunteer waiver & liability agreement upon arrival to the harvest. No ladder use is permitted.
    • Teens age 16-18: Required to register as volunteers, are not required to have active adult supervision, but must provide a printed signed copy of our volunteer waiver & liability agreement upon arrival to the harvest.