Frequently Asked Questions - Farmers Against Hunger
Q: Is the New Jersey Agricultural Society part of the state Department of Agriculture or the USDA?
A: The NJ Agricultural Society is not part of the state department or the USDA, although we do receive grant funding to support some of our programs through the state NJDA and federal USDA.
The NJ Agricultural Society is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
Q: What is gleaning?
A: Gleaning is the act of collecting surplus crops from farm fields after the commercial harvesting process.
Q: How can I participate in volunteer gleanings?
A: There are three ways to stay connected with our volunteer gleaning opportunities 1) You can register to receive email notices when gleanings become available. As farms let us know what crops are available, we send emails and post notices to recruit volunteers. 2) You can like us on Facebook: NJ Farmers Against Hunger 3) You can request to schedule a gleaning for a group of ten or more people. Click on the Volunteer to Glean tab in the menu for more information.
Q: How far in advance can gleanings be scheduled?
A: This is quite variable, and depends on the crop being harvested, the farm location, the weather, and the group size. Generally, fall gleanings are easier to schedule in advance at apple orchards, because we can predict that there will be apples on the ground for us to harvest. Some farms have corn starting in June or July for us to harvest, but we may not know until a week in advance when exactly we will be allowed on the farm to harvest. Please feel free to submit your request and we will do our best to schedule "tentative" gleanings as far in advance as we can.
Q: How many people can attend a gleaning?
A: Most farms can accommodate 10-20 volunteers. Sometimes we only need a few volunteers, and sometimes groups can be larger. This depends on the size of the farm and crop availability.
Q: Can children attend gleanings and packing events?
A: Children 10+ are always welcome to attend. Gleaning is a great activity for children of this age, because they have the physical strength and stamina to work in the fields and it can be a very rewarding community service project for them. Certain farms work fine for younger children. We will post notices with age limits for each gleaning. Parents and groups leading youth need to sign waivers for each child participating in our gleanings.
Q: What should we bring/wear to gleanings?
A: Participants should wear closed toe sneakers or boots and hats for sun protection. Please be sure to apply sunscreen. Most crops do not require gloves, however, if you prefer to wear gloves, you may bring your own. We will provide water bottles on hot days. We always appreciate if gleaners bring their own reusable water bottles as well.
Q: Will we work in hot weather?
A: We will work in hot weather, however if the temperatures are above 95 degrees with sunshine, we will likely cancel the gleaning for safety reasons. When working in the heat, we will take multiple water/shade breaks and volunteers should feel free to take frequent breaks or discontinue work if you are not feeling well from the heat. We want our volunteers to have a safe and enjoyable experience. The farm work is difficult in the heat, so we recommend those who may have health concerns to join us in the spring or fall, when the heat is not an issue.
Q: Where are the crops distributed once we harvest?
A: Farmers Against Hunger delivers weekly to four main distribution sites in Mount Holly, Browns Mills, Camden and Trenton. Our trucks collect produce from various farms, grocery stores and wholesale produce companies, in addition to the produce gleaned by volunteers. The produce is brought to these four sites where ten church groups and organizations pick up shares for their food pantries or soup kitchens. Beyond these sites, FAH delivers to 30+ organizations when extra produce is available, including the state food banks.
Q: Can food pantry volunteers come to gleanings and bring produce back to their pantries?
A: Yes! We encourage registered food pantries to send volunteers to gleanings. We are happy to send some of the gleaned produce back with volunteers. Please brings crates or boxes.
Q: Where are gleanings located?
A: FAH works with over 60 farms statewide, with 25 farms allowing volunteers on site to glean. Various farms have crops available at different times of the season. For example, apple farms, such as Strawberry Hill Farm and Eastmont Orchards allow gleanings in September and October, respectively. Hallocks U-Pick Farm generally allows us to come in November and December to harvest potatoes and cabbage. Porch Farms and Buzby Farms generally have corn available for us to glean in July and August. Please see our map for a list of farms and their locations. All gleanings must be scheduled through FAH, not the farms.