This is a job for the Glean Team!

By Ron Swarner on September 26, 2011


The South Sound's fall harvest is on.

That means volunteers with The Pierce County Gleaning Project will be descending on local produce fields to gather fresh vegetables for distribution to hunger-relief agencies.

According to a PCGP, a whopping 40 to 50 percent of commercially grown food goes to waste in this country. I believe it. I witnessed hundreds of apples on the sidewalks during my run yesterday through Tacoma's Northend Neighborhood.

The PCGP collects food throughout the year to distribute to such hunger-relief agencies as St. Leo Food Connection food bank and the Emergency Food network. It runs an urban fruit harvest in Tacoma, gleans from farms in the Puyallup Valley, and connects gardeners with food banks through a Plant a Row for the Hungry Program.

In Thurston County, the Thurston County Food Bank began a gleaning project in 2010. The TCFB gleaners focus on harvesting the bounty from their county's organic farm and CSA community as well as the four Kiwanis-run food bank gardens in Olympia.

The fall harvest offers an opportunity to collect large amounts of fresh-from-the- farm produce. The donated produce is often what's left in the field after the farmers have had their pick. Vegetables that are an off size, shape or color might not be suitable for shipping to area markets.

It can't be accomplished without volunteers.

To get involved with the Pierce County Gleaning Project, sign up to volunteer and find a list of where to donate garden bounty at or call 253.584.1040.

To work with the Thurston County Food Bank, visit or call 360.352.8597.