Health Behaviors Tobacco Use Diet & Exercise Alcohol & Drug Use Sexual Activity Search Policies & Programs

hints
Display All Policies & Programs

Fruit & vegetable gleaning initiatives

Health Factors: Diet & Exercise
Decision Makers: Community Members Employers & Businesses Local Government State Government Nonprofit Leaders
Evidence Rating: Expert Opinion
Population Reach: 10-19% of WI's population
Impact on Disparities: Likely to decrease disparities

Is this program or policy in use in your community? Tell us about it.

Description

Fruit and vegetable gleaning or field gleaning initiatives gather food left in fields after the primary harvest or food in fields where harvesting is not profitable. These initiatives can also collect food after farmers’ markets or farm stands close, or excess produce from farms, orchards, or packing houses. Urban gleaning initiatives gather excess produce from registered fruit trees, community, school, and backyard gardens, or other urban agriculture sites. Most gleaning initiatives rely on volunteers to harvest, pick up, sort, and deliver fresh fruits and vegetables to food banks, churches, mobile food pantries, and other community organizations that help distribute the produce to families with low incomes. Some participating farms use cull bins while harvesting to set aside non-marketable produce for donation (USDA-Food recovery, CCFP-Owen 2011).

Expected Beneficial Outcomes

Increased consumption of healthy foods
Improved dietary habits
Reduced obesity rates
Improved nutrition
Increased food security
Reduced emissions

Evidence of Effectiveness

Fruit and vegetable gleaning initiatives are a suggested strategy to increase consumption of fruits and vegetables and improve eating habits, especially for families with low incomes (USDA-Food recovery, Hampl 2005, Hoisington 2001). Such initiatives are also a suggested strategy to prevent childhood obesity by increasing children’s access to fresh fruits and vegetables (CCFP-Owen 2011). Gleaning initiatives may improve nutrition (Hampl 2005) and support community food security, although effects may be larger among larger scale or more intensive operations (Vitiello 2014). Additional evidence is needed to confirm effects.

Every year, approximately 7% of planted fields in the US are not harvested, although this number varies widely, occasionally reaching as much as 50% for a particular crop (NRDC-Gunders 2012). Gleaning initiatives effectively harvest this produce; in 2011, for example, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) gleaned 900,000 pounds for the Feds Feed Families Food Drive (USDA-Food recovery). 

Gleaning initiatives reduce food waste, which contributes to reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from the production, processing, transportation, and disposal of food (FAO-Food waste, Hic 2016, CCAFS-Campbell 2012).

Implementation

United States

A 2011 national survey of food banks reports 115 organizations with local agriculture programs, including 73 gleaning programs (Vitiello 2014). The Society of St. Andrew Gleaning Network, for example, gleans over 20 million pounds of food annually and operates in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia (SOSA-Gleaning). The California Association of Food Banks' Farm to Family program is the largest gleaning program in the nation; it distributed 150 million pounds of produce to 43 food banks in 2015 (CA AFB-Farm to family).

Statewide gleaning projects also glean millions of pounds of produce each year. For example, the Arkansas Gleaning Project (AHRA-AGP), the Arizona Statewide Gleaning Project (AAFB-ASGP), and Oregon Food Bank’s gleaning program (OFB-Gleaning). Some states offer growers a tax credit for donations of excess produce to state-sponsored food banks, as in Arizona, California, Colorado, and Oregon (NRDC-Gunders 2012).

Regional non-profit organizations can run gleaning programs with food banks, churches, and other community partners. Examples of such partnerships include the Mid-Atlantic Gleaning Network, which provides over 8 million pounds of fresh produce annually in the Washington DC area (MAGNET-Gleaning), and FRESHFARM Markets which gleans throughout the Chesapeake Bay region (FRESHFARM-Gleaning). Many local gleaning initiatives glean thousands of pounds of produce, as in Humboldt County, CA (FFP-Gleaning). Gleaning initiatives can also supply fresh produce to schools in low income areas; for example, Ag Against Hunger supplies leafy greens and fresh fruit for school salad bars via the More Produce in Schools Program (AAH-Gleaning).

Urban gleaning initiatives are underway in many cities, for example, San Francisco, CA (SF DPW-Urban gleaning); San Jose, CA (VH-Gleaning); Washington DC (BFTC-Glean); Springfield, MO (OFH-Glean team); Grand Rapids, MI (HGI-Gleaning); Salt Lake City, UT (SLCgreen-FruitShare); and Portland, OR (PFTP-Harvest). 

Wisconsin

There are several organizations supporting gleaning initiatives throughout Wisconsin, for example Glean Central Wisconsin (GCW-Second harvest), Community Action Coalition Gleaners in South Central Wisconsin (CACSCW-Gleaners), and Gleaned Food Project of Southwest Wisconsin (Everybody Works-Gleaning). There are also urban gleaning initiatives gathering produce from registered and mapped fruits trees, as in Milwaukee (Glean Milwaukee-Fruit trees).

Implementation Resources

Gardening Matters-Toolkit - Gardening Matters, The Garden Gleaning Project. Garden gleaning: A toolkit for growers and food shelves. Accessed on November 16, 2017
Northwest Harvest-Martin 2014 - Martin K, Morales T. Growing connections: A resource guide for farm-to-food bank strategies. Seattle: Northwest Harvest; 2014. Accessed on November 16, 2017
UFF-Urban gleaning - Urban Food Forestry (UFF). Urban food forestry initiatives: Archive for urban gleaning and free resources. Accessed on November 16, 2017
USDA-Gleaning toolkit - US Department of Agriculture (USDA). Let's glean! United we serve toolkit. Accessed on November 16, 2017

Citations - Description

CCFP-Owen 2011 - Owen J, Rosch J, Smith S. Preventing childhood obesity: Policy and practice strategies for North Carolina. Durham: Center for Child & Family Policy (CCFP), Duke University; 2011. Accessed on November 16, 2017
USDA-Food recovery - US Department of Agriculture (USDA). US food waste challenge: Food recovery/donations. Accessed on November 16, 2017

Citations - Evidence

CCAFS-Campbell 2012 - Campbell B. Is eating local good for the climate? Thinking beyond food miles. Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), CGIAR Research Programs. 2012. Accessed on February 22, 2018
CCFP-Owen 2011 - Owen J, Rosch J, Smith S. Preventing childhood obesity: Policy and practice strategies for North Carolina. Durham: Center for Child & Family Policy (CCFP), Duke University; 2011. Accessed on November 16, 2017
FAO-Food waste - Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Food wastage footprint & climate change. Accessed on November 2, 2017
Hampl 2005* - Hampl JS, Levinson SL, Garcia LW, Johnston CS. Project GLEAN: Evaluation of a school-based, gleaned-food distribution project. Journal of Sustainable Agriculture. 2005;25(2):5-15. Accessed on November 16, 2017
Hic 2016 - Hic C, Pradhan P, Rybski D, Kropp JP. Food surplus and its climate burdens. Environmental Science and Technology. 2016;50(8):4269-4277. Accessed on November 2, 2017
Hoisington 2001* - Hoisington A, Butkus SN, Garrett S, Beerman K. Field gleaning as a tool for addressing food security at the local level: Case study. Journal of Nutrition Education. 2001;33(1):43-48. Accessed on November 16, 2017
NRDC-Gunders 2012 - Gunders D. Wasted: How America is losing up to 40 percent of its food from farm to fork to landfill. New York City: National Resources Defense Council; 2012. Accessed on November 16, 2017
USDA-Food recovery - US Department of Agriculture (USDA). US food waste challenge: Food recovery/donations. Accessed on November 16, 2017
Vitiello 2014* - Vitiello D, Grisso JA, Whiteside KL, Fischman R. From commodity surplus to food justice: Food banks and local agriculture in the United States. Agriculture and Human Values. 2014. Accessed on November 11, 2017

Citations - Implementation

AAFB-ASGP - Association of Arizona Food Banks (AAFB). Arizona statewide gleaning project (ASGP). Accessed on November 16, 2017
AAH-Gleaning - Ag Against Hunger (AAH). Agricultural community feeds the hungry through gleaning and harvesting. Accessed on November 16, 2017
AHRA-AGP - Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance (AHRA). Arkansas gleaning project (AGP). Accessed on November 16, 2017
BFTC-Glean - Bread for the City (BFTC). Glean for the City: A project of Bread for the City. Accessed on March 4, 2016
CA AFB-Farm to family - California Association of Food Banks (CA AFB). Farm to family: Alleviating hunger and improving nutrition. Accessed on November 16, 2017
CACSCW-Gleaners - Community Action Coalition for South Central Wisconsin (CACSCW). CAC Gleaners perishable food recovery program. Accessed on November 16, 2017
Everybody Works-Gleaning - Everybody Works! Gleaning project: Gleaned food project of Southwest WI. Accessed on March 3, 2016
FFP-Gleaning - Food for People (FFP). The food bank for Humboldt County: Gleaning program. Accessed on November 16, 2017
FRESHFARM-Gleaning - FRESHFARM Markets. Our gleaning partners. Accessed on November 16, 2017
GCW-Second harvest - Glean Central Wisconsin (GCW). Gleaning resources: Exploring the power of second harvest to fight hunger and waste. Accessed on November 16, 2017
Glean Milwaukee-Fruit trees - Glean Milwaukee. City-Community harvesting & sharing fruit: Register a tree, scout trees, pick fruit. Accessed on November 16, 2017
HGI-Gleaning - Heartside Gleaning Initiative (HGI). Gleaning in the Heartside neighborhood Grand Rapids, Michigan. Accessed on November 16, 2017
MAGNET-Gleaning - Mid-Atlantic Gleaning Network (MAGNET). Fighting hunger by harvesting fresh fruits and vegetables from farms and orchards. Accessed on November 16, 2017
NRDC-Gunders 2012 - Gunders D. Wasted: How America is losing up to 40 percent of its food from farm to fork to landfill. New York City: National Resources Defense Council; 2012. Accessed on November 16, 2017
OFB-Gleaning - Oregon Food Bank (OFB). Gleaning: A history of gleaning in Oregon. Accessed on March 4, 2016
OFH-Glean team - Ozarks Food Harvest (OFH). New "Glean Team" part of OFH's goal to distribute more healthy food to area pantries. Accessed on November 16, 2017
PFTP-Harvest - Portland Fruit Tree Project (PFTP). Share in the harvest: Harvest programs. Accessed on November 16, 2017
SF DPW-Urban gleaning - San Francisco Department of Public Works (SF DPW). Urban gleaning program: Gather and give back to the community. Accessed on March 4, 2016
SLCgreen-FruitShare - Salt Lake City Green (SLCgreen). Grow local. SLC FruitShare: Share your fruit with Salt Lake City's fruit gleaning program. Register your tree. Accessed on November 16, 2017
SOSA-Gleaning - Society of St. Andrew (SOSA). The gleaning network: Gleaning America's fields feeding America's hungry. Accessed on November 16, 2017
VH-Gleaning - Village Harvest (VH). Sharing our gardens, gleaning, and teaching to strengthen our community. Accessed on November 16, 2017
Vitiello 2014* - Vitiello D, Grisso JA, Whiteside KL, Fischman R. From commodity surplus to food justice: Food banks and local agriculture in the United States. Agriculture and Human Values. 2014. Accessed on November 11, 2017

Page Last Updated

November 2, 2017

* Journal subscription may be required for access.