Frequently Asked Questions – Volunteering

The Columbia Gorge Gleaning Project was started in 2015 during Ford Family Institute Leadership Training Program in Hood River.

Gorge Gleaning covers five counties of the Columbia River Gorge in both Oregon and Washington including Hood River, Wasco, Sherman, Klickitat and Skamania.

Q: What do volunteers do at farmers market recovery events?

A: You will meet the volunteer team at a designated time and place at the market. A Volunteer Glean Team Leader oversees the event and provides an orientation before the glean begins. Volunteers walk through the market with empty Food Forward boxes, distributing them to any produce vendors wishing to make a donation. The vendors are usually familiar with Food Forward and, if they have excess produce, will gladly donate it. There is usually a brief break to shop or eat, and then volunteers meet up again to collect the boxes full of fresh, delicious food! The donated produce is weighed, recorded (farmers get a tax deductible for their donations), and prepared for pick-up by our partner agencies. Once all of the boxes are collected and the food is picked up, your work here is done!

Q: I just signed up to volunteer on your website! What happens next?

A: You’re on your way to fighting hunger and food waste with us! You will receive an email four days prior to the event you signed up for that has contact information and meet-up instructions, plus any additional details you may need. If you can no longer make it to the event you signed up for, it is important that you cancel no less than 72 hours before the event so we can find a volunteer to take your place.

Q: Do I need to transport any of the product in my car?

A: Nope! We arrange transportation with the agency receiving the food or with the Event Leader.

Gleaning volunteers may take home a portion of the harvest for their hard work, and to feed their own families. Many low-income residents are gleaning participants and leaders.

Q: I’d like to participate in a gleaning event but I don’t have a car

A: People often carpool to gleans. If you are interested in a ride, you can email or call 541-490-6420.

Q: What do volunteers do at backyard fruit harvests?

A: Volunteers meet the Pick Leader at the designated time and receive an orientation on safe harvesting techniques. Depending on what we’re picking, we will supply fruit pickers, clippers, gloves, harvest bags and ladders, which volunteers use to pick as much fruit as possible. When the harvest wraps up, volunteers will help to load up a vehicle with boxes, pick up the equipment and, generally, leave the property as we found it.

Q: Do I need to bring anything to glean?

A: The majority of our produce recovery events take place outside so we always recommend bringing water and a hat. Please wear clothes you are comfortable in and close-toed shoes. Otherwise, we supply all equipment needed.

Q: What is the minimum age to volunteer?

A: 5 for fruit picks and 12 for farmers market recovery events. Volunteers under 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian who registers for the event as well.gleaning “adoptee”.

Q: Can I bring my friend, family, group, or child?

We love having groups come out to volunteer with us. We do need each volunteer to register separately online so that we have an accurate count of volunteers and have every volunteer properly registered. You must use a different email address for each individual volunteer.


Q: What if my child doesn’t have an email address?

If you have already registered as a volunteer for an event and want to register your child as well, you can register them as a volunteer using a placeholder email address, like