San Diego County Food Gathering Organizations

What's a gleaner?
The food gathering activity known as "gleaning" goes back to Biblical times when landowners left a portion of their crops for the poor to harvest. Today, gleaners gather surplus food from farms, gardens, backyards, retail establishments and commercial food processors to feed hungry people. This food would otherwise be wasted, often ending in landfills and generating high levels of methane gas.

Today, gleaners gather surplus food from farms, gardens, backyards,and orchards to feed hungry people.

Donate food, time and money!
Most of these local gleaning organizations rely totally on volunteers and donated funds to maintain their charitable operations.


These volunteers harvest residential fruit trees in the Poway / Rancho Bernardo / Rancho Penasquitos area, set up donation sites where homeowners can drop off  backyard produce, and operate an organic garden. All produce is donated to the non-profit Friends and Family Community Connection for distribution to local families in need. 

Based in North County, ProduceGood operates the CropSwap gleaning program that organizes teams of volunteers to pick fruit from private groves and orchards throughout San Diego County. Gleaned fruit is donated to food banks for distribution to the hungry.

Based in Lemon Grove, Harvest CROPS organizes teams of volunteers to pick fruit from backyards and orchards throughout San Diego County. The gleaned fruit is donated to local charities for distribution to the hungry. 

A local sustainable food program that connects central San Diego fruit tree owners with volunteers who harvest the fruit and share it with people in need.

The Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank welcomes surplus and imperfect food that is still perfectly edible and safe to consume from throughout San Diego County. We have two drop off locations--central and north county. To schedule a pickup of already picked produce please contact our Food Procurement Coordinator Martha Vargas at 858-863-5133.  To schedule a team of volunteers to pick your residential crop, please contact our partner CropSwap listed above and let them know you would like your produce to be donated to the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank. 

These volunteer gleaners aged 55+ harvest from backyards and farms throughout San Diego County, and collect unsold food from grocery stores and restaurants. Gleaned food is distributed at no charge to agencies feeding low income residents.


This organization helps 42 million home and community gardeners end food waste and hunger by educating and enabling them to donate their excess garden produce to a nearby food pantry. 

Helps connect fruit tree owners and residents with local gleaning groups around San Diego County to pick the remaining crop for distribution to the hungry. Feeding San Diego works with both gleaning groups and other food donors to accept and distribute more than 18.5 million meals annually throughout San Diego County.

Find Food Assistance

If you need immediate food assistance, call 2-1-1 and the operator will direct you to the nearest food distribution center.

This is a bartering site for San Diego's surplus backyard fruit and vegetables.

Lists numerous California gleaning and food rescue organizations, primarily in S. Calif., along with a few in other Western states. Includes pages on tree care, harvesting tips and food preservation.