Boston Area Gleaners at a Local Farm
Boston Area Gleaners at a Local Farm

Webster defines “gleaning” as “to gather grain or other material that is left after the main crop has been gathered.”  

Did you know that there’s an activity which provides fresh produce for those who cannot easily afford it, reduces food waste, and gets you some exercise?  It’s volunteering with the Boston Area Gleaners, a Waltham-based  non-profit that connects volunteers with local farmers who have produce left on their fields after the harvest.  The volunteers car-pool or drive out to the farm (within an hour’s drive of Waltham), on the designated date, and gather the remaining crop, which would otherwise be left on the fields to be plowed under. Boston Area Gleaners then distributes this produce to local food pantries and low-income markets.

Here is some information from the Boston Area Gleaners’ website about volunteering for a gleaning trip:

  • Volunteers must register online, and then are able to sign up for gleaning events.
  • Once you register, you will receive emails about events that have unfilled volunteer slots.
  • There’s a leader named for each gleaning event with an email address, so volunteers can contact him/her with specific questions.
  • For each event, the date/time, location of the farm, work involved, length of time, (usually 2-3 hours in the field, plus travel time back & forth), bathroom availability at the farm, carpool information & directions to the farm are listed.
  • For each event, the number of volunteers needed, the number who have signed up, the number on the waiting list, and the available carpool slots are all listed.
  • If an event is “full,” volunteers can sign up and be on a waiting list.
  • Gleaning events are held on both weekdays and weekends.
  • Peak gleaning season is mid-late fall (through Thanksgiving); Dec-Jan events consist of sorting through stored produce at the farms.
  • Training is provided – no experience necessary.  There is info on their website on what to bring.

So, sign up to volunteer, and start gleaning!




Here’s a Volunteer Opportunity with Multiple Benefits: Gleaning
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