Information for New Volunteers

Thank you for registering as a volunteer with Backyard Bounty of the Berkshires! We look forward to meeting you. By volunteering with the Gleaning program, you are agreeing to the Terms of Participation.

First, registration

Everyone who attends a glean must first be registered as a volunteer. Once you are registered, you are eligible to sign up for gleans, and you don't have to register again. You can go to the Volunteer page to renew your registration.

Find out about gleans

For large gleans, we will send an email with a description of the glean and a link to the Gleans page.

An email is not sent for smaller gleans, but they are posted on the Gleans page. Often, we find out about crop donations on very short notice, so check your email or the Gleans page regularly.

Sign up for a glean

Open gleans are posted on the Gleans page. To sign up, click on the glean link, and then type in your name. You must type it exactly as you did when you first registered, so we can match your record in our database.

You must read and check off the Liability Waiver to be added to the roster. Then click on the button that says 'Signup for this glean.'

How will I know where the glean is?

After you sign up, you'll see a page with the address of the glean and helpful information, such as whether particular tools are needed. This is the only place the actual address appears on the website so write it down or print it out.

You'll also receive an email with the same information and a link back to that web page. If you want to check out your history of participation or have the email resent, go to the 'Volunteer' button on our homepage.

Please cancel if you can't make it!

If your schedule changes, please cancel so someone else can take your spot. The email you receive will include a link where you can cancel. Your courtesy will also help us schedule the right number of volunteers for the available produce.

When you arrive

When you arrive Gleaning program staff or volunteers will show you where to park and help you check in. We'll provide a brief orientation with helpful tips and information about the property.

Every adult who attends a glean must be a registered volunteer and must have signed up online for that glean. Children do not need to register or sign up, but must be supervised by an adult who is on the roster. Please note that not all gleans allow children. We will post specific information when gleans are child-friendly.

That is all the basic information! Please keep reading to find answers to questions that volunteers often have about the Backyard Bounty of the Berkshires program.

We depend on you!

At each glean we depend on help from volunteers who are willing to volunteer any amount of their time. If you are available to help direct traffic or assist with intake, check off the volunteer box when you sign up for a glean. If your help is needed, Gleaning program staff may email you beforehand or assign you a task when you arrive.

Who runs backyardbountyberkshires.org?

backyardbountyberkshires.org is a program of The Nutrition Center, Inc. Our mission is to connect people with food that would otherwise go to waste, reduce hunger throughout the area, and build a sense of community.

As a non-profit organization we rely on donations to support our efforts. If you share our mission and would like to help, click the 'Donate' button on our Home page.

What should I do if my contact information changes?

If you are changing contact information like your email address or phone number, go to the Volunteer page and click on 'Update.If you need to make a name change, write to Dick Yates at berkshires@gleanweb.org.

Why won't the signup page let me on the roster?

You may have typed your name differently than you did when you initially registered. You also need to check off the Release and Waiver of Liability. If you are still unable to access the roster, contact Dick at berkshires@gleanweb.org or (503) 991-5525.

I forgot to write down the glean address!

The email you receive after you sign up includes a link to information about the glean, including the address. If you have signed up for the glean but have lost this email, go to the Home page website and click on the 'Volunteer' button. Click the button there to get another email. If you have any trouble, contact Dick.

How are gleans planned?

Gleaning program staff meet or speak with crop owners and discuss the property and glean logistics. The size of the gleaning volunteer roster is determined by the amount of produce, the number of available volunteers and staff, and parking space. Our goal is to accommodate as any people as possible.

We are indebted to property owners and commercial growers who share our mission. Commercial growers are able to donate for a variety of reasons. Sometimes produce is left over because it wasn't sold or is about to be tilled in, and some produce is grown with the intention of donating to our Gleaning program. These factors mean that we don't know which large-scale crops will be available each season, and often have only a few days' notice to plan gleans.

Can I bring my kids?

We encourage parents to bring their children, but please be aware that some gleans will be more suitable for kids than others. If the lowest fruit is not accessible from the ground, there are few opportunities for younger children to help. We always provide as much information as possible about the height of the tree and the lowest fruit, so that you can make the decision about whether or not to bring your kids. Youth under age 18 don't need to register as volunteers, but parents are required to check off the waiver form, agreeing to provide supervision.

Volunteers under age 18 must be actively supervised by an adult who is on the glean roster.

We believe that volunteering with a gleaning program is a valuable educational experience and a fabulous opportunity for young folks to give back to the community. When we announce new gleans, we will call special attention to those that are appropriate for children.

What should I bring to the glean?

  • Bring water to drink, and please take care of any bathroom needs before arriving. We usually will not have access to a restroom.
  • You may want to bring gloves for handling equipment or picking fruit and vegetables.

What should I wear?

We suggest sunblock, a long-sleeved T-shirt, long pants, comfortable closed-toe shoes and a hat.

Has the produce been sprayed with chemicals?

Our gleans take place at a wide variety of properties. We always ask the property owner whether or not their fruit has been sprayed with non-organic chemicals in the last three years, and we include that information when we schedule the glean.

Do I have to stay for the entire time?

It is generally preferred, but not required, for volunteers to stay for the duration of the glean. Since space is limited at many of the glean sites, we ask that you register to glean only when you can arrive on time and stay for the majority of the time until the crop is picked. Most gleans are scheduled for about two hours.

Why aren't there more gleans?

The Backyard Bounty of the Berkshires program relies on donations from crop owners when they are available for harvest. After we are contacted about a crop, we discuss with the property owner or farmer how many gleans will be needed to glean the produce. We also consider our ability to staff the glean and accommodate requests from the crop owner.

Who should I contact if I have other questions?

Please check out the Contacts page. We are always happy to help.