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Knox County Gleaners is a local nonprofit helping farmers use their surplus crops while supporting the food insecure in the county. 

If you’re unfamiliar with the word “gleaning,” it is the gathering of leftover produce after harvest. When local farmers, orchards and gardeners have food remaining at the end of their harvests, volunteers with Knox County Gleaners will pick up (or even help gather) the produce and bring it to food banks around the county. It’s a win-win; none of the grower’s surplus food goes to waste, and food insecure people in the area have access to fresh, local foods. 

The volunteers help by washing produce, watering plants, harvesting crops, transporting the food to local food pantries, and even planting. The wide variety of jobs for gleaners provides volunteering opportunities for the whole family. It’s a great opportunity for students to get their volunteer hours, scout troops to earn badges, and companies to team build while helping their community. 

Volunteering is also a great way for Maine visitors to learn about the area and to sample the local food. As they say, “gleaners get,” meaning that volunteers get to take some of the produce at the end of the glean. 

Interested in becoming a volunteer? Fill out the volunteer form. You can also join the Facebook group for information, volunteer updates and to connect with other volunteers. 

Want to learn more about Knox County Gleaning? The organization will have a booth at the Union Fair in the exhibit hall on July 28-29. Founder Nancy Wood will be speaking at 3 p.m. Thursday, July 28, and will be at the booth all day Friday, July 29.