Food rescue for our community
San Luis Obispo County is a region of agricultural abundance, yet not everyone has consistent access to fresh fruits and vegetables. On top of that, plenty of perfectly edible, safe, and nutritious food is discarded at various points in the food chain each day. In an attempt to make use of what would otherwise be thrown out as trash, the SLO Food Bank manages two food rescue programs: GleanSLO, a fresh produce rescue program working with local farms and home gardeners, as well as a Grocery Rescue Program, connecting charitable agencies with near-date food from grocery chains and local markets.
Gleaning is traditionally known as the collection of leftover crops 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, as well as farmers markets.
Currently, more than 58 million pounds of produce are left to rot in fields every year. The SLO Food Bank’s GleanSLO program rescues food that would otherwise go to waste from local farms, orchards, backyards and farmers markets to be distributed to those in need.
How It Works
- Many commercial growers and private homeowners have fruit trees 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. (Some California growers may be eligible for a tax credit of 15% of the whole sale value of the donated product.)
- GleanSLO staff organize harvests and volunteers to gather the fresh produce. Volunteers sign up online, checking off a liability waiver that protects crop owners.
- The produce collected is distributed by the SLO Food Bank to our neighbors in need through its network of nonprofit agency partners and direct food programs, like Children’s Farmers Markets and Neighborhood Food Distributions. Each year, nearly half of the food distributed by the SLO Food Bank is fresh produce, including more than 300,000 pounds harvested locally by GleanSLO.
GleanSLO utilizes the help of hundreds of volunteers and the generosity of hundreds of produce donors to harvest over 300,000 lbs of produce each year. See how you can get involved at gleanslo.org.
The Agency Direct Rescue Program connects local charitable agencies with grocery stores in their area to do recovery of near-date foods to be distributed to those in need. If you want to know more about our grocery rescue program, would like to donate food from your market, or are interested in getting your agency involved with grocery rescue, contact our Food Rescue Manager.
The SLO Food Bank rescues edible food from grocery stores and other food service providers throughout SLO county. Our Agency Direct Rescue (ADR) Program allows Agency Partners to rescue these near-date food products directly from local grocery stores at no charge. This agreement between grocery stores participating as Distribution Partners for Feeding America and the SLO Food Bank’s Agency Partners helps reduce food waste while providing local families with nutritious foods for free.