“One common theme is that to really be helpful to others, you need to understand what they’re doing and what they need, so that your “help” doesn’t turn out to be an imposition. This is something I tend to be hyper-aware of, and for me that recognition has often been a barrier to actually getting involved.

That’s why Hope’s Harvest is such a great organization and has been such a great fit for me. You and your team do the hard work of learning where the needs are and coordinating a plan to actually help meet those needs. This allows volunteers to turn our desire to help directly into action without having to solve all of those problems or worry about whether we’re just imposing our desire to ‘do something’ on others in ways that meet our needs instead of theirs.” – Derek, Hope’s Harvest RI Volunteer since 2018

Gleaning Basics

  • The harvesting season runs July – December.
  • We will send e-mail notices as we schedule new trips, sometimes with as little as 24 hours notice. You must be registered as a volunteer to receive these notices. Emails will have a link and instructions on how to sign up for a trip.
  • Most trips last 2-3 hours in the field, not including travel time to and from the farm.
  • We glean from farms all over Rhode Island.
  • We glean most days of the week (including weekends), depending on when crops are ready.
  • Trips can take place at different times of day depending on the farm’s preferences, weather, and other factors.
  • The minimum age to volunteer is 13 years old, and all volunteers must be registered and parents or guardians of minors must be present during the trip.
  • Volunteers are responsible for getting themselves to the gleaning trip, and location information is provided after you sign up for a trip.
  • We train all volunteers in the field. No experience is required!
  • When you arrive at the farm, our staff will provide a brief orientation and training on food safety and how to harvest the crops.
  • If you would like to bring out a group to volunteer, please contact info@hopesharvest.org

What to Bring, What to Wear, and Safety Tips

  • Shoes: Wear sturdy, closed‐toed shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty. No sandals! In the spring and fall when the fields are muddy, rubber boots work well.
  • ClothingLong sleeves and long pants are highly recommended for protecting your skin from plant irritants, the sun, and ticks. Dress in layers, the mornings can be chilly but once the sun comes out it can easily get hot. Clothing that breathes and wicks water is useful. In general, wear clothing that you don’t mind getting dirty. We are out in all kinds of weather. Clothing that is comfortable for bending, lifting and walking is best.
  • Hats: Wear a hat to keep you warm and to protect you from the sun.
  • We supply all the  tools: To comply with FDA regulations, volunteers are not allowed to use tools that they have brought from home.
  • WaterBring plenty of water, this can’t be emphasized enough! Drink a lot of it (especially when it is hot out!).
  • Sunscreen: Even on cloudy days it is important to have sun protection.
  • Snacks: Gleaning Trips can last up to 2‐3 hours.
  • Bugs and Plant Irritants: Please keep in mind that we will be out in nature! Mosquitos, ticks, and poison ivy can all be present on farms. We carry bug spray and poison ivy wash in our First Aid supplies, but preventing exposure with long pants and long sleeve shirts is the best line of defense.
  • Bathrooms are not usually available at gleaning sites, so please plan accordingly.
  • Medications: If you have allergies to plants or insects, please let the trip leader know and bring any medication that you will need in case of an allergic reaction. On the farms, we are often far away from medical service. If you have other potentially life‐threatening health conditions, please inform the trip leader, rest when you need to, ask for help, etc.
  • Safety: Volunteers are responsible for managing their own health on Trips. If you have a medical condition that requires attention and could be a safety risk while working in the fields, please keep necessary medications on you at all times and notify the trip leader so that they may assist you in case of emergency.

Food borne illnesses can be extremely contagious. Cross contamination can occur from sick workers contaminating food supplies. Any volunteer involved with handling food who is diagnosed or is showing symptoms of a food borne illness must refrain from harvesting or handling food. By signing up to attend a gleaning trip as a volunteer with Hope’s Harvest RI, you must agree to comply with our Volunteer Health and Hygiene policy:

  • I will not attend a gleaning trip if I have been diagnosed with or if I have been in contact with a household member diagnosed with Hepatitis A., E. coli, Salmonella, Shigella, and/or Norovirus until cleared by a medical provider with written instruction. If I am diagnosed with any of these illnesses within 1 year of attending a gleaning trip, I will immediately notify the Hope’s Harvest RI Staff Member/Trip Leader of that gleaning trip.
  • I will not sign up for nor attend a gleaning trip with Hope’s Harvest RI if I have experienced symptoms of a food borne illness (listed below) in the past 72 hours.
  • Common food borne illness symptoms include:
    • nausea
    • vomiting
    • diarrhea
    • persistent stomach cramps or pain
    • fever
    • chills
    • skin infections
    • wounds or sores containing pus
    • cold
    • runny nose
    • frequent coughing or sneezing.
  • I will not handle food or work in food contact areas if I have been experiencing any of the symptoms listed above. I understand that food handling, as defined here, includes: harvesting, packing, washing, handling and/or transporting food.
  • If I experience any of the above symptoms while in attendance on a gleaning trip, I will immediately notify the Staff Trip Leader on duty, and I will accept all directions from Staff to mitigate any food safety risk.
  • I understand that Hope’s Harvest RI and its staff members reserve the right to deny me entry to a gleaning trip, may require me to leave any gleaning trip, or may remove me from the registration list if I do not agree to and/or comply with this Health and Hygiene Policy. Staff reserves the right to ask any relevant questions regarding health and hygiene that he/she considers may pose a food safety risk while on a gleaning trip.

Return to the Volunteer Registration page

Adapted from the Boston Area Gleaners with their generous permission – June 2018