Elgin Gleaners

What is Elgin Gleaners?

Elgin Gleaners is a program run through YWCA St.Thomas-Elgin in partnership with Southwestern Public Health during the months of June through November focused on promoting and facilitating the sharing of food resources in our community by joining volunteer gleaners (pickers) with volunteer homeowners or farms to harvest fruits and vegetables.

How it works

Training is provided at our Orientation Night at the start of our picking season as well as several visits to a local farm for hands-on safety training and picking tips. Pick days are pre-scheduled through our Program Coordinator and volunteers are contacted to see if they are available throughout the summer and early fall for the set pick dates. You may volunteer for as many or as few as you are available for. Fruit picked is then shared equally between homeowners, volunteers and community food programs. (1/3, 1/3, 1/3 of total yield)

Recent Successes

2019 Season
8 farms visited
Total picked – 2,956 lbs plus 4 vans full of squash
Total donated to charities – 1,450 lbs plus 2 vans of squash
Supported 16 local charities
190 volunteer hours
On average volunteers received 62 lbs of produce

2020 Season
3 farms visited
Total picked – 3,337 lbs
Total donated to charities – 1,524 lbs
Supported 8 local charities
65.5 volunteer hours plus 16 volunteer hours maintaining our First Ave Orchard
On average volunteers received 109 lbs of produce

Ways you can volunteer

Share your Fruit

Too much of a good thing? Do you have a fruit tree on your property that produces more fruit than you can handle? Help us put that food to good use by becoming a Homeowner/Farm connected to Elgin Gleaners.

Get your hands dirty

Success depends upon what volunteers bring to this community group. The ability to harvest fruit can be taught. What we need are volunteers who are committed and excited to be a part of this project!

You could become a volunteer Gleaner once you have completed our Elgin Gleaners Orientation Night which traditionally takes place in mid-late June.

2021 Season Update

The safety of our volunteers, homeowners, local farmers and community partners whom we would be donating to is our priority. This year we will closely follow the provincial Road to Reopening Stages when planning our pick-days and number of volunteers we will be to accommodate.

*must 18 years+ to participate and live and/or work in Elgin County

Want to Volunteer?

Step 1 – click this link to view a recording of our mandatory Orientation & Safety Training. During this year’s online training we shared how we will be keeping safe, supporting food security in our community and we reviewed the successes of past seasons.

Step 2 – click here to complete the Elgin Gleaners 2021 Quiz
Mandatory for all volunteers who would like to join this year even those who attended the live training session.

Step 3 – review the following forms, sign each and submit to elgingleaners@ywcaste.ca, deliver to YWCA St.Thomas-Elgin main office at 16 Mary St West during regular office hours or bring all signed forms to your first pick-day.
> Gleaners Best Practices & Policies
> Volunteer Registration Form
> Waiver of Liability & Release Form
> Confidentiality Agreement

Follow our Elgin Gleaners Facebook Group for the most up to date information.

Please note by joining the Elgin Gleaners Facebook Group this does not automatically mean you are a registered Gleaner as orientation, training and signing of annual waivers must still be completed to be registered.

Want to find out more?

For more information, please complete the form below or  call our  Elgin Gleaners Coordinator at (519) 631-9800.

Please note inquiries will be reviewed within 2-3 business days.

Waiver of Liability – Participants must be 18 years of age or older and not being subject to any other disability at law, understand that there are some risks and hazards involved in harvesting fruit and vegetables. Volunteers, registered homeowners/farmers, YWCA St.Thomas-Elgin and SouthWest Public Health are not responsible for any injury, damage, or loss of any kind suffered by a volunteer during, or as a result of, participating in any program, activity or event related to Elgin Gleaners. Waiver of Liability and Release must be signed by all participants during Orientation Night or prior to our first On The Farm Training date

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