What is Gleaning?

Gleaning means collecting the leftovers after a harvest. 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. Food Share volunteers pick food whether a harvest has happened or not. Chances are we’ve been to your neighborhood, as we have picked in every community in Ventura County. Learn how you can be a part of our mission below.

Produce Donors

A Branch Feeds a Family, A Tree Feeds a Neighborhood.

Ventura County is home to just under 1 million people, which means there are over 233,000 backyard, front yards, side yards, orchards, hillsides, fields and plains that have food growing on them that can be harvested.  Although our gleaning volunteers have been to more than 500 unique sites and have scheduled almost 1,000 picks we still see plenty of pastures and backyards that need harvesting.  We’ve collectively harvested over half a million pounds of produce from backyards and farms in the last three years but we need your help if we are going to try and harvest all of the unwanted or unneeded crops in Ventura County!

Gleaning Volunteers

Volunteer with Food Share

Before you come out and volunteer we will need to you contact our Volunteer department and fill out three forms (Volunteer Application, Volunteer Pledge & Volunteer Waiver). Our volunteer coordinator will be happy to connect the work we do out in the field with the work we do back in our warehouse during your tour when you are ready to start volunteering.

Please contact our Director of Volunteer Services, Christina Forino at:
(805) 983-7100 x104



Call (805) 983-7100 to schedule a pick. Please prepare to be patient during peak seasons. We encourage neighbors with crops to call together as it means we can be more efficient and have a bigger group out at the harvest. Ensuring a speedy pick may mean calling in advance of a tree being ripe.

Will you pick up what I have harvested?

YES! Please call (805) 983-7100 (9AM – 3PM Monday – Friday) to see the availability of same day pick up so fruit is not to go to waste.

Will you come pick up my crop?

Yes, however, availability, time restrictions, and volunteer feedback preference will be given to crops with a Low Shelf Life (tomatoes and leafy greens), Elderly Owned Backyards Crops (or people without the ability to pick themselves), and any Overly Large Crops (orchard and farms). We try to remain flexible but when we don’t have the workforce we focus on what we can actually accomplish to the best of our abilities. It’s advised but not mandatory to call about gleaning 2 or more full trees.

Scouting the Property

Scouting the property leads to a more efficient harvest and helps us identify and connect with not only the donor but also the property. During this time we will schedule the pick date, talk about what we might not be able to pick and what you don’t want us too.

Do you have insurance and do you have tools?

Yes and Yes.  Please allow additional time prior to expected pick date if you would like a certificate of insurance and let us know as soon as possible. We insist to only have our volunteers use our equipment and to pick only what they themselves feel comfortable picking.


Once you’ve contacted us and we’ve scouted your home to ensure our team of volunteers is ready, we will schedule a day and time to bring our stellar volunteer crew out to pick.

Who is coming to my house?

Volunteers come in all shapes and sizes, but for the most part weekdays are a retired persons looking to give back and weekends are spent with volunteer groups and families.  Occasionally we will have schools students and court ordered hours for those looking to pay off tickets for speeding or moving violations. Calling in advance of the fruit being ripe allows us to schedule things out in such a way where we can tell you exactly who will be picking in your backyard.