Island Grown Gleaning: Gathering Food for our Community

Gleaning is the act of gathering food that would otherwise not be sold. This includes harvesting surplus crops with volunteers, receiving surplus food, and harvesting or receiving food grown specifically for donation.

Some farms donate crops because they don't meet store quality standards, they grow more than they can sell, or they are not able to harvest produce in time. In those cases, Island Grown Gleaning is able to harvest large areas of ripe produce with our team of dedicated volunteers. We spend extra time removing old leaves, checking for spots, and thoughtfully distributing the food we glean.

Some farms grow produce specifically the Gleaning program! At Island Grown Initiative's own farm, we glean approximately one third of the produce we grow. IGI also receives fish from the MV Striped Bass & Bluefish Derby and venison from the Venison Donation Program, a collaboration between IGI and the MV Agricultural Society.

IGI shares gleaned food with every Island school, the Island Food Pantry, Serving Hands, Kinship Heals, IGI's Prepared Meals Program, and other organizations. We facilitate food system education by hosting gleaning field trips for students of all ages.

Gleaning in 2023

Thanks to generous farmers and volunteers throughout our food system, we gleaned 66,852 pounds of beautiful and nourishing local food in 2023! This amounts to about 460,00 servings. Approximately 35,000 pounds of that was grown on Island Grown Initiative's farm. Since our program began in 2009 we've gleaned over 457,000 pounds of local food.

Join Us!

REGISTER as a new volunteer. If you'd like to learn about volunteer opportunities in other programs, visit Island Grown Initiative's Volunteer page on IGI's main website.

Island Grown Gleaning is shaped by our volunteer gleaners. Many volunteers have been gleaning since the program began over 10 years ago. They return year after year to share with our community and spend time outside with others who are doing the same.

We provide tools, instruction, and an experienced Field Captain. Most gleans last about an hour and a half and we have several gleans each week during summer and fall harvest seasons. Volunteers keep a share of the harvest for themselves. New volunteers are always welcome. Glean once a year, or every week!

Gleaning Policies

Children 11 years old or younger require special permission from the Gleaning Manager to attend gleans. Some crops are not suitable for young children to harvest. Please email if you'd like to bring children 11 or younger. Look out for kid friendly gleans announced in our Gleaning emails! During those special gleans, kids of all ages are welcome and you do not need to email in advance. All parents/guardians must register on this website. Children under 12 do not need to register as volunteers.

Kids 12+ can attend any glean with adult supervision. A parent or guardian should help them register as volunteers on this website.

Anyone 16+ can attend gleans on their own and should register as volunteers on this website.

Dogs are never allowed at gleans.

Weather Cancellations: Check your email the night before gleans in case of weather cancellations or other last-minute changes.


Martha's Vineyard Times
Cape & Islands NPR
Oxfam America
Huffington Post


Contact: Astrid Tilton, Program Leader