Farm and Farmers’ Market Gleaning

Farm and Farmers’ Market Gleaning, in collaboration with Healthy Acadia, 2020Hands picking potatoes out of the ground

Healthy Acadia Downeast Gleaning Initiative partners with farms and food pantries to make fresh, local produce available to more people in our community. Developed in 2013 in partnership with University of Maine Cooperative Extension, the project has collected 256,000 pounds of produce from farms, farmers markets, orchards, and gardens across the Downeast region. With the help of volunteers, we gather quality fruits and vegetables that would otherwise go to waste and donate the food to organizations that serve those in need of food assistance.

Volunteer opportunities:

The following gleaning activities are weekly events that, if interested, people can commit to from June-October. Other activities come up sporadically throughout the season, which we announce via our gleaning newsletter.

  • MDI Gleaning at Beech Hill Farm and/or Bar Harbor Farm on Monday mornings, ~ 1-2 hours
  • 1-2 volunteers
  • Volunteers will learn about professional harvest and produce handling techniques, community-based solutions to food insecurity, season extension, and food production on a mid-scale vegetable farm.
    • Gleaning at Beech Hill Farm (171 Beech Hill Road, Mount Desert): either in-field harvesting and/or produce pick-up from their walk-in cooler. Time on farm: 30-60 minutes
    • Gleaning at Bar Harbor Farm (115 Gilbert Farm Road, Bar Harbor): usually just a pick-up of already-harvested produce. They label a stack of bins in their walk-in cooler (“Healthy Acadia”). Time on farm: 15 – 30 minutes
    • Delivery of produce to Ellsworth, if possible.
      Note: Several food security organizations (FSO) on MDI are willing to pick up produce at either of these locations. We are hoping that in 2020, these FSO’s will send a volunteer to pick up produce at the farm. This would mean that our gleaning volunteers would not need to deliver produce!
  • Gleaning in Ellsworth, Tuesday mornings – about 1 hour
    • 1-2 volunteers
    • Volunteers will learn about professional harvest and produce handling techniques; how to properly store vegetables; community-based solutions to food insecurity; and food production on a “market garden” sized operation.
    • Gleaning at Pat and Mike’s Garden includes harvesting lettuce and other greens, and bringing the produce to the Healthy Acadia office (about 5 minutes from the farm).
  • Gleaning at Blue Hill Summer Farmers Market on Saturdays – 45-60 minutes
    • 1 volunteer
    • 233 Ellsworth Road, Blue Hill
    • Volunteers will develop relationships with local farmers by visiting their stand at the market each Saturday to collect unsold produce. In turn, they will learn about the various fruits and vegetables that are grown in our region throughout the season and how farmers market these crops to the public. Volunteers will also learn how to weigh and track produce, keeping a detailed record of the produce that they collect, and will learn how to properly store the produce to ensure long-lasting quality.
    • May 23 – early October at the Blue Hill Fairgrounds
    • End-of-market gleaning starts at 11:30 and takes a total of 10-15 minutes. When finished, the produce is delivered to the refrigerated Gleaning Trailer at the Healthy Peninsula office (about 3 minutes down the road), where it is weighed, recorded, and stored.
  • “Produce Sharing Table” at Bucksport Regional Health Center on Thursdays – 1 hour
    • 1-2 volunteers
    • 110 Broadway, Bucksport
    • Help us get more produce to the Bucksport community by setting up a table with free produce, recipes, and nutrition information for patients at BRHC. Volunteers can either set up and/or break down the table, or stay for the duration of the event (~2 or 3 hours) and interact with patients by offering produce samples and cooking tips.


Project Leader: Rachel Emus, Healthy Acadia

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