Rescuing nature’s bounty for the benefit of our community
San Luis Obispo County is a region of agricultural abundance, yet not everyone has consistent access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Currently, more than 58 million pounds of produce are left to rot in fields every year. The Food Bank’s GleanSLO program rescues food that would otherwise go to waste from farms, orchards and backyards.
What We Do
Gleaning is the collection of leftover crops both large and small, 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.
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 10 percent tax credit.)
- 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 the Emergency Food Assistance Program. Each year, nearly half of the food distributed by the Food Bank is fresh produce, including more than 200,000 pounds harvested locally by GleanSLO.
Our Vision & Values
Through the act of harvesting and sharing food, we connect and nourish our community to build stronger relationships and a deeper appreciation for our food.
- Healthy food for all. We live in an area of agricultural abundance, yet there are many people in SLO County who go hungry. We believe in simple solutions, such as harvesting extra produce and getting it to our neighbors in need.
- Reduce waste. Growing food requires resources, such as water, land, labor, and energy. By gleaning we more fully utilize our region’s resources.
- Gleaning grows communities. We create opportunities for a diverse array of people to collaborate and celebrate the act of harvesting and sharing nutritious food. By working together and sharing ideas, we discover our broader sense of connectedness and common purpose.
- Knowledge empowers. We believe that through collaborations and sharing ideas we can inspire a healthier food culture.
Become A Volunteer
GleanSLO offers community members a variety of opportunities to get involved. After you register as a volunteer you can:
- Glean during seasonal harvests
- Become a Neighborhood Harvest Leader
- Become a Farmers Market Collection Leader
- Host a fruit drive
- Volunteer as a group
If you have a fruit tree, orchard, backyard garden or commercial farm, you can register to donate your crop. Visit gleanslo.org to learn more.