Basic Gleaning Program Logistics with Second Harvest Inland Northwest

02 Jul 2024, by Admin in General/ Logistics

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Basic Gleaning Program Logistics with Second Harvest Inland Northwest

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Second Harvest’s Gleaning Project aims to capture surplus produce throughout the Spokane area by mobilizing volunteers to harvest crops that would otherwise go to waste.  Local farmers and residential fruit tree owners contact Second Harvest or Spokane Edible Tree Project to have a crew of gleaners come to their site and harvest for the food banks.


Volunteers are the lifeblood of Second Harvest’s Gleaning Program. Maintaining a solid database of gleaners has been a crucial component towards building long-term success.  Gleaning is a unique volunteer opportunity and the Gleaning Coordinator focuses on that during recruitment. Refer to the “Managing a Volunteer Workforce” section for ideas on how to recruit and maintain a volunteer database.


Key to Second Harvest’s relationships with its gleaning donors is they WANT to donate their surplus.  Farmers are inherently kind people who want to help any way they can.  Most of Second Harvest’s gleaning opportunities arise from farmers contacting the organization to have their fields harvested, as opposed to Second Harvest reaching out to the community in search of gleaning opportunities.  This is a clear indication of the strong desire on the farmers’ end to have their surplus not go to waste.

That being said, just one unfortunate circumstance during a glean can lead to missed opportunities for years to come. Donors need assurance that volunteers on their property are knowledgeable, well-mannered, and careful. Second Harvest seeks to avoid such situations by having pre-glean meetings to inform volunteers on event logistics (i.e. how to harvest specific crops, which rows to glean, etc.) and emphasize the importance of safety.

To further protect both Second Harvest and the donor in the unfortunate circumstance that a volunteer is injured during an event, Second Harvest requires a gleaning liability waiver to be signed by all gleaning volunteers before participating in a glean. A copy of the Second Harvest Gleaning Liability Waiver can be found at Second Harvest Gleaning Liability Waiver.

Pre-Glean Checklist

Second Harvest’s gleaning events are by no means uniform in regards to equipment. Each event varies as to what needs to be brought (i.e. ladders are not required for a green bean pick). Below is a list of Second Harvest’s gleaning materials:

  • Picking bags (i.e. reusable grocery bags)
  • Transport boxes (i.e. banana boxes)
  • Gloves
  • Eye protection
  • Sunscreen
  • Ladders
  • Clipboards and pens
  • Liability waivers
  • Camera
  • Water jug w/ cups
  • First Aid kit
  • Business cards
  • Scale


  • Call and thank the donor again later that day and give them a final tally of pounds harvested if possible.
  • Mail a handwritten “Thank You” note and receipt to the donor the following day.
  • Send a “Thank You” email, phone call, or letter to each of your volunteers after the event.
  • Post pictures of the event to all of your social media sites (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
  • Send an email to your entire database of volunteers with totals from each event.
  • Enter new liability waivers (volunteers) into your database.
  • Send a “Welcome” email to each of your new volunteers, thanking them for choosing to spend their time with your program.
  • Keep a detailed log of gleaning events to include: produce weigh-in, type of produce, date, location, number of volunteers, total volunteer hours.