lettuce gleaning

Gleaning Network

Brassica gleaning 8Gleaning Network UK coordinates volunteers, local farmers and food redistribution charities in order to salvage the thousands of tonnes of fresh fruit and vegetables that are wasted on UK farms every year and direct this fresh, nutritious food to people in need.

Farmers across the country often have no choice but to leave tonnes of their crops unharvested and either let it rot in the field or plough it back in the soil. These crops cannot reach the market either because they fail to meet strict cosmetic standards set by retailers or because of overproduction. At the same time, more than 5.8 million people suffer from deep poverty in the UK and cannot afford a decent diet, and this number is on the rise.


The Story So Far

Plum and apples gleaning2

Gleaning Network UK is fast expanding to become a national project. In 2013, the Gleaning Network already gleaned approximately 48 tonnes of produce, equal to over 200,000 meals, with over 200 volunteers across 18 gleaning days. New hubs sprung up in Manchester, Bristol, Brighton, Cambridge, London and Kent. Apples, pears, plums, strawberries, cauliflower, cabbages, lettuces, pumpkins and parsnips are just some of the produce already gleaned. On one gleaning day alone on 9th November 2013, over 11 tonnes of pumpkins were saved from waste on a farm in Southampton. In 2014, we plan to do far more, and we are also expanding at the European Union level including France, Spain, Poland, The Netherlands and Belgium.

Get Involved – Volunteers

Strawberry gleaning 15

Are you an individual or group and want to become a modern day gleaner?

Sign up to our gleaning list below and we will let you know when there’s a gleaning day near you:

Sign up to our gleaning list.

Rise up with the arable spring!




Leek gleaning 4Are you a farmer with surplus produce? Gleaning Network UK are appealing to farmers across the UK to join in and allow volunteer ‘gleaners’ to harvest their unwanted produce for charity!

For more info on how to host a gleaning day, just download our info sheet and case studies of farmers’ eye view on previous gleans:

Gleaning Network UK – Info sheet for farmers

Gleaning Network UK Case study – Brook Farm

Gleaning Network UK Case study – Elmwood Farm

We’ve also been featured in a range of farmer’s publications, including Farmers Weekly, Farming Online and Fresh Produce Journal and South East Farmers. We have hubs in Kent, Sussex, London, North East, Bristol, and Cambridgeshire, and are expanding to new areas all the time, so please do get in touch!

If you’re interested in hosting a gleaning day, or for more info, please get in touch with Martin at martin@feeding5k.org

Follow us on social media

Parsnip gleaning2 For updates on Gleaning Network UK, follow us on facebook and twitter.

For updates from our regional gleaning hubs, check out our regional twitters:

In the press

Al Jazeera Gleaning stillGleaning Network UK has received widespread media coverage, including:

BBC News


As well as numerous features on local TV and radio for BBC and ITV amongst others. If you’re interested in covering Gleaning Network UK, or sending reporters to any of our gleaning days, please get in touch for press releases, photos and enquiries, at martin@feeding5k.org

Staggering facts about food waste on farms

Parsnip gleaning

The Soil Association estimate that 20-40% of UK Fruit and vegetables are rejected on cosmetic grounds before they reach the consumer. You can find a fantastic gallery of wonky vegetables on the Guardian website. Watch Intermarche’s video about their radical expansion of “wonky” fruit and veg in their supermarkets in France. We’re calling on UK supermarkets to do the same!

For a bit more detail about food waste on farms, check out these great reports from WRAP (UK) and the NRDC (US).

To show the potential of gleaning in the UK, you just have to look at more established gleaning networks around the world. Check out the amazing Society of St Andrews in the US, who have saved more than 164 million pounds of food for America’s hungry since 1988, with over 400,000 volunteers