Gleaning is the act of collecting leftover crops from farmers’ fields after they have been commercially harvested or on fields where it is not economically profitable to harvest. Some ancient cultures promoted gleaning as an early form of a welfare system.


The Gleaners. Jean-François Millet. 1857

Gleaning has been practiced since biblical times.

“And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make clean riddance of the corners of thy field when thou reapest, neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them unto the poor, and to the stranger.”   Leviticus xxiii, 22.

Today, gleaning is an underutilized source of assistance for those in need. The Haywood County North Carolina Gleaners are all volunteers who work hard to utilize the bountiful fresh food resources available in our community in order to share with the hungry in our county. In other words, Haywood Gleaners rescue fresh produce that would otherwise be wasted and donate it to feed the hungry.


Generous growers donate fields and orchards for gleaning. Gleaning is harvested from gardens, trees, Farmer’s Markets and grocery outlets. We glean all kinds of fruits and vegetables!


Faith groups, civic organizations, schools, and people of all ages alleviate hunger by volunteering in the gleaning effort. In addition to farmers and individuals offering produce and those actually doing the picking, volunteers are needed for many different roles. To find more about how you can get involved as a Haywood County gleaner, check out the Get Involved page.

The Haywood Gleaners Organization is apolitical with no direct religious affiliations and open to everyone in our community. We do, however, partner with the Society of St. Andrew, the premier gleaning organization in America, working with farmers, volunteers and feeding agencies to help feed hungry Americans.


In early 2013, Jim Geenan attended a conference where he met Bill Walker with the Society of St. Andrews. Jim saw the possibilities gleaning presented in a county with such a rich agricultural core as Haywood County. He and Bill Walker hosted an organizational meeting, held at the Open Door in early spring 2013, and Haywood Gleaners was born!

In our first year (2013), Haywood Gleaners gleaned and distributed over 20,000 pounds of rescued food to the hungry in our county.

We acknowledge the tireless assistance and guidance from Mary Sue Kindred, Nancy Haber, and Linda Garland who have been of prime importance, each volunteering a great many hours for Haywood Gleaners. We especially thank volunteer Cindy Parks for her dedication to “getting the word out.”


The volunteers of Haywood Gleaners seek opportunities to glean or otherwise obtain fresh produce grown in Haywood County and distribute it to food insecure residents of Haywood County.


  • Food cannot be sold but must be given free of charge.
  • Gleaners may take and use part of what they glean but must share with others. Please be sure to have any produce you are taking with you weighed with the total gleaning so we have complete numbers for each glean.
  • Haywood Gleaner members are not allowed to “cherry-pick” the best for themselves while giving produce of lesser quality to others.