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Gleaning is the act of collecting excess fresh food from farms, gardens, farmers’ markets, grocery stores and any other sources in order to provide to those in need.

This is not a new trend but an ancient practice going back centuries when farmers would leave part of their harvests behind for the less fortunate to collect. Produce costs more than most processed foods and is often harder to access. Gleaning not only provides fresh healthy options to AFAC clients for free but reduces waste at a time where 40% of food in America goes uneaten.

AFAC gleans at eight different Farmers Markets in Arlington every week from May through November and partners with local farms and gardens where volunteers of all ages can sign up to glean as crops become available. So far this year, AFAC has gathered food from JK Community Farm in Purcellville, Arcadia Farm in Alexandria, and through the Society of Saint Andrew near Winchester, as well as from individuals who have opened up their gardens and orchards to AFAC.

Individuals can register to glean by completing the Volunteer Profile form. If you are already part of our online volunteer management system, you do not need to register. You will see gleaning opportunities on the online calendar as dates become available.

Approximately two days before you are due to glean you will receive a reminder from AFAC with instructions on what to bring and wear and directions to the site. Please note that due to inclement weather or muddy roads, gleaning may be cancelled. Please check your email before you head out.

Contact the Volunteer Department volunteer4afac@afac.org or (703) 845-8486 for information about gleaning.

Local Farmers: If you have produce to be gleaned or that you would like to donate, please contact us at (703) 845-8486, or send an email to: plotagainsthmunger@afac.org for more information.