Fidalgo Island and Guemes Gleaners

Back in 2013, when Vision 2030 was created, the Food Security group talked about the food that was going to waste needlessly, and FIGG, or Fidalgo Island and Guemes Gleaners, was born.

Our goal is to help homeowners who have an abundance of fruit share that fruit with local groups, such as the food banks, shelters, churches, schools (we donate fresh apples to the No Child Goes Hungry program in local schools), and gleaners. Entirely volunteer-run, FIGG was created as a resource for those homeowners to share the bounty with those who can use it.

Based on the experience of previous gleaning programs here in town, we created specific guidelines:

  • We coordinate with homeowners to schedule specific times and dates of the glean so they know when gleaners will be on their property.
  • Volunteers are only given the address if they are going to attend that particular glean.  This is an important step, so the coordinator knows how much help they have for that glean and know who to look for at the gleaning site.
  • There is always a manager at the glean to coordinating the gleaning and distribution.
  • We provide on-Site training for beginners so they know which fruit to pick.
  •  We coordinate with local groups to add to the distribution list.

In the last few years, we noticed another area of needed expertise. Many homeowners move into homes with existing fruit trees and don’t know how to care for and prune their trees.  Our newest initiative involves education for homeowners and anyone else who would like to learn how to care, maintain, and prune fruit trees.

Gleans are typically attended by three ot five gleaners, and last an hour or less. We only glean ripe fruit, so often we return a week or two later, continuing until the tree is harvested.  This process allows the remaining fruit to continue growing, and helps the tree by relieving some of the weight of the branches during the harvesting season.

The harvest season typically begins mid-August and often goes into the first week or two in October. We’ve gleaned apples, plums, figs, pears, blueberries, and grapes, and are open to whatever fruit is grown locally. FIGG gleaners also participate in cider presses throughout the apple season. These cider pressings usually take place on Sunday afternoons.  Those who have gleaned that week are invited to participate in the cider pressing and take home fresh cider.

To participate, email us and tell us:

  • If you’re a homeowner with fruit trees and you would like help with harvesting your fruit trees
  • If you’re  interested in being part of the gleaning team
  • If you’re part of a local food distribution program and would like to benefit from FIGG