NH Gleans

Gleaning is the act of collecting excess fresh foods from farms, gardens,
farmers markets, and local producers in order to provide it to those in need

What is Gleaning?

Gleaning stems from the centuries old practice of gathering excess crops after a farmer has completed a harvest. In current-day food systems, gleaning is a form of food recovery where locally produced food that would otherwise go to waste is collected and redistributed to community members who need it. This can happen in many different ways. Gleaning groups across New Hampshire work with farm partners and community organizations to harvest surplus crops from a farm, pick up unsold product at the end of farmers market day, or collect donations from backyard and community gardeners with bounty to share. By collecting and distributing locally sourced healthy food to community members in need through local organizations such food pantries, housing sites, senior centers and other community spaces, gleaning reduces food waste and builds more food secure communities.

Gleaning Types


Gleaners pick the fruit or vegetable off of its plant


Already harvested food is picked up at the farm or food producer site


Food is picked up from a farmer's market or another place that aggregates food from multiple different producers


Food is produced at a donation site by a home gardener or commercial producer

Benefits of Gleaning

1 in 15 people and 1 i n 12 children face hunger in New Hampshire.  At the same time, according to ReFED,  6.14 thousand surplus food tons were generated on farms across the state in 2022. 4.36 thousand  tons (71%) was not harvested and only 91.6 tons (1.5 %) was donated.

Gleaning programs can help to bridge the gap between food waste and food insecurity.

Food security

Gleaning programs increase the availability of locally grown nutritious food for community members in need, helping to address food insecurity.


Gleaning provides an outlet for farmers to share their surplus crops. It offers a tax deduction for the donation. It can help to alleviate labor shortages on farms by using volunteers to harvest. By introducing volunteers to the farms, programs foster relationships between local farmers and community members and serve to galvanize support for our local food system which is vital to the health of our communities.


By helping to reduce on-farm food waste, gleaning serves as a climate solution by directly addressing key contributors to climate change. Harvesting and donating surplus crops prevents them from decomposing in landfills, where they would release methane, a potent greenhouse gas. It also reduces the associated waste of water, energy, labor, fertilizer, and other resources that go into growing food that is not used for its highest purpose, feeding people.

Want to get involved, but now sure how?

Interested in gleaning in NH, but still not sure how to get involved? Please reach out to us.