What is Gleaning?

Gleaning is one initiative that works to support community food security by increasing local food availability, food access, and food use. Gleaning is commonly understood as the act of collecting leftover crops from farmers’ fields after they have been commercially harvested, or collecting produce from individual homeowners who have excess in the gardens or on fruit trees. The Chatham-Kent Food Policy Council determined that food access is a priority area and have developed a gleaning project for Chatham-Kent. Thus, to reduce the amount of edible food that is wasted in the food system the CK Gleaning program links food producers and community agencies to divert food that would otherwise be left in the field, to people and organizations who can use it.

How did the CK Gleaning Project begin?

  1. June 2014, a forum was held to bring together individuals who were interested in hearing what had been done in other communities.
  2. Summer 2015, we conducted a pilot project and this was expanded into a full program during the 2016 harvest season.
  3. Today, we continue to work closely with local producers and have been successful at bringing leftover produce to local service agencies in the community such as local food banks, soup kitchens, cooking programs, youth program, and other agencies that support individuals in our communities. We would like to invite you (volunteer, farmer, or agency) to participate in the Chatham-Kent Gleaning Project!

Our Vision:
Equipping people to rescue surplus produce from fields and gardens.

Our Mission:
Connecting food producers who have surplus produce with neighbours and community food programs through relationship building, experiential learning and volunteer engagement.

Call for local farmers/producers! We can glean the fields or pick up produce!

Expectations for participating producers:

  • Provide their contact information, the location of the fields to be gleaned, the types of
    crops that are available for gleaning/pick up, and how we can access them.
  • Responsible to advise (by phone or email) when fields are ready to be gleaned. We will
    work with producers to arrange the date and time that works best for them to have the
    gleaners come to their fields.
  • To keep volunteers safe, farmers must inform us of any special instructions/additional
    training required for the gleaning process.

    • Volunteers will be required to complete detailed safety training through the health
      unit, and are covered by the municipal volunteer policy for insurance purposes.
  • Please complete the Producer Intake Form – CK Gleaning Project and Producers Intake form

Call for Volunteers to harvest & deliver produce!

Please visit https://letstalkfood-ck.com/gleaning-volunteer-training/

Call for Agencies to receive excess produce!

Expectations for participating agencies:

  • Provide us with their contact information and the type of storage facilities available
  • Provide us with volunteer(s) to assist with harvesting and delivering produce.
    • Volunteers will be required to complete detailed safety training through the health
      unit, and are covered by the municipality.
    • In-person Training Dates – To Be Determined
    • If you do not have any volunteers to assist with gleaning, someone from your agency
      must be available to pick up the gleaned produce at the farmer’s fields.

    • All gleaned produce must be distributed to your clients for free. They cannot be sold for a
  • Please complete the Agency Intake Form – CK-Gleaning-Project-and-Agency-Intake-Form-

For more information or if you are interested in being a part of this project either as a volunteer, farmer or agency, please contact Terrylyn Timmermans at or by phone at 519-352-7270 ext. 5710.