Dave Orr, a volunteer who runs Food Share’s gleaning program, is passionate about saving crops from being wasted. “We are so lucky to live in an area with abundant fresh food, yet so many people in our community can’t afford to buy it at the supermarket,” he notes. “Gleaning gets fresh food that would go to waste onto the tables of people who really need it.”

Dave Orr

Dave started gleaning with Food Share about eight years ago. What started as one day of volunteering, turned into a three to four day a week commitment. The loss of volunteers due to the pandemic turned that into five to six days a week during the peak harvesting months. Even during the height of the pandemic in 2020-21 volunteer gleaners did 173 picks collecting 125,820 lbs of fresh produce including avocados, limes, and oranges.

“I see the gleaning program as a multiple win for all involved,” explains Dave. “First and foremost is the benefit to those who can use the fresh fruit. Next are the gleaners who feel a sense of satisfaction in helping the community. And then the home owners who can feel good about donating their fruit and who also help spread the word about Food Share and its mission.” 

We are so grateful for your commitment, Dave, and to all of our volunteer gleaners! Thank you for your incredible hard work and being such a great ambassador for Food Share.

Food Share was started as a gleaning organization by a group of friends who collected unharvested crops to give to the poor.

What is gleaning?

Simply put, gleaning is picking leftover crops. That might be crops in a farmer’s field, left-over food at a farmer’s market or fruit on trees in our neighborhood backyards. Picking leftover crops for the local community was an essential part of farm life and the harvest process for thousands of years. It is even mentioned in the Bible.


Why is gleaning important?

Gleaning helps farmers and anyone with excess fruit on their backyard trees to reduce food waste. Farms account for 21% of all food waste in the United States. It also helps stop lots of squishy, rotting fruit in our local backyards, which attracts rodents and insects.


Do you have trees that can be gleaned?

If you’re interested in having someone glean fruit from your trees call 805-983-7100 or visit https://foodshare.com/gleaning/

Want to Get Involved with Food Share?