Gleaning Project Toolkit

Farmers Market Guide to Gleaning Overview


Why is “Gleaning” important?

Many farmers markets meet only once a week to sell their products. Sometimes there are left over products that may not last until the following week. Many farmers market vendors end up throwing away or “composting” these items. Instead of tossing these nutritious foods, they can be donated to worthy organizations and/or needy individuals if the market has a plan in place to do so.

The Issue of “Gleaning”

Gleaning is defined as, “to gather grain or the like, after the reapers or regular gatherers.” In other words, this type of program would allow the left overs to be gathered and given back to the community. These types of programs encourage local vendors to donate unsold produce and create a more food secure environment.

Benefits of “Gleaning”

  • Makes Fresh, Local products available to underserved individuals
  • Offers a use for products that are perishable before next week’s market
  • Promotes Good Publicity with the community
  • Builds Relationships with other groups and organizations
  • Fosters Good Feelings about helping others
  • Promotes Agriculture in a positive way
  • Encourages other people to contribute to the community

Identifying Donation Sites Locally:

  • Local Organizations; food pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters
  • Non-profit organizations; schools, churches
  • Senior Care Programs; senior citizen centers, senior housing, assisted living

Gleaning at the Market


  • Individual Vendor Gleaning – individual vendors are responsible for their own donations
  • Market Gleaning – the market appoints an individual to oversee the market’s donations
  • Customer Gleaning – the customers are given the option to purchase extra produce for donating

Record Keeping is Important

What to include?

  • Date of donation
  • Location of donation
  • Type of product donated
  • Amount of product donated (In some cases, you will need to weigh the product. Some donation locations may be equipped with scales and prepared to give you a receipt.)
  • Approximate value of the products donated


For the full toolkit, follow this link:

Gleaning Project Toolkit