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/Transport program, you are agreeing to the Terms of Participation.

First, registration

Everyone who participates in a glean or a transport must first be registered as a volunteer. Once you are registered, you are eligible to sign up for gleans and transports, 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 & Transports page.

We do not send out an email for smaller gleans, but they are posted on the Gleans & Transports page. We sometimes find out about crop donations on very short notice, so please check your email or the Gleans & Transports page regularly.

Sign up for a glean

Gleans and transport opportunities are posted on the Gleans & Transports page. To sign up, click on the 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/transport.'

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 you will be shown where to park and be checked 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, we 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?

We 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, commercial growers and Big Y, who all 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. 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.

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 no more than about two hours.

Find out about transports

Volunteers participating in transporting produce will pick up produce at one of the following:

  • a South County gleaning site; or,
  • in the storeroom at the back of Big Y (700 Main Street, Great Barrington); or,
  • the Great Barrington Farmers Markets on Saturday at 1:00PM, or,
  • the Backyard Bounty storage unit (CHP at 442 Stockbridge Road, Great Barrington); or
  • other pick-up points that may be added during the season.

Volunteers will deliver produce to various pantries and other distribution agencies in South County and/or Pittsfield.

Volunteers will provide their own vehicles or accompany other volunteers in their vehicles. Vehicles need to be large enough to accommodate between 5 and 20 boxes of produce, each weighing from 10-30 pounds.

Typically, each transport will require two volunteers, and will typically take between one and two hours to complete.

Sign up for a transport

Transport needs are posted on the Gleaners & Transporters page. To sign up for a transport, click on the Gleaners & Transporters 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/transport.'

Who should I contact if I have other questions?

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