WALTHAM (CBS) – Gleaning may not be a very well-known activity, but it’s an important one.

With more concern about food waste these days, the Boston Area Gleaners in Waltham have a simple motto – leave no crop behind.

So what does a gleaner do?

“Gleaning is actually a really old concept,” Charlotte Border, the group’s operations manager, told WBZ-TV. “It basically means harvesting surplus crops that would otherwise go to waste and then redirecting them into the hunger relief world.”

One out of five pieces of produce on a farm never gets harvested, so the Boston Area Gleaners work with more than 50 farms to harvest the extra crops and ship them to those in need.

The Boston Area Gleaners work with 50 local farms. (WBZ-TV)

“Basically (the farms) plant about 20-percent extra as their insurance and then if something goes wrong they have that and they should have enough for their needs, and if everything goes right, then they have that extra. And that’s where we come into play,” Border says.

“It means everything that the gleaners bring us fresh produce,” said Bernice Behar, the program manager at JF&CS Family Table in Waltham.

“We serve more than 500 households every month. So every single one of those households benefits from the produce that we get from Boston Area Gleaners, no question.”


“Our busiest two months of the year are September and October. Every day these trucks go out and every day they come back totally filled to the brim,” Border said. “Last year we harvested 820,000 pounds and this year the goal is a million pounds.”

For more information about the Boston Area Gleaners, visit their website.