Marketing and Visibility


2015 marks the second year of the gleaning project, but the first year for WSU Extension Jefferson County sponsorship (the previous year the gleaning project went by a different name). Therefore, a great deal of marketing was employed to promote both the concept of gleaning and to boost participation in the project. To get the word out about your gleaning project, try the following strategies: 
  • Piggyback on the email lists of other established groups. For example, Jefferson County Gleaning project sent gleaning opportunities and updates to a local sustainability group, which sends weekly email announcements to a large email group. Another source of volunteer crossover was found through local Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) members. This source proved to be an amazing contribution to the gleaning program.
  • Table at various establishments and events to increase general visibility. Jefferson County Gleaning tabled at food banks, a volunteer fair, a county picnic, and a small town fair. Other ideas of places to table your project are: farmers markets, school fairs, farm tour headquarters, on a donor farm during a farm tour, outside grocery stores, or any community event.
  • Find a local radio or TV program in your town that might be interested in having a representative on to talk about gleaning – this is a fun and old fashioned way to spread the word! The gleaning coordinator had the opportunity to talk on a radio show about Jefferson County Gleaning, what gleaning is all about, and let people know that community involvement is integral to the success of the project.
  • Self-promotion in the local newspaper is another good way to let folks know what gleaning is and how to get involved. It is also a good way to help promote the donor farms where gleaning occurs. Contribute articles and photographs.
  • Post fliers and handouts about your program.

In all of your marketing strategies, be clear about what gleaning is and the ways your community can be involved. Offer a number of options of how to get involved, as this is more inclusive of a larger audience and will hopefully interest more folks.

WSU Cooperative Extension is a state-wide county resource for Washington State University in Pullman, Washington, with the mission of extending knowledge and changing lives. It was founded by the Smith-Lever Act in 1914. The Extension in Jefferson County offers diverse learning opportunities and resources for all ages.  These include Master Gardeners Program, Small Farms Program – Small Farms Internship, livestock classes, farm management and budgeting; Food Preservation classes, 4-H, Marine Resources Committee, Water Resources, Organic Seed Alliance, Toxic Weed Board and Gleaning/Food Recovery.

The Gleaning/Food Recovery Program is in its second year of the program for the county.  It is the first year of involvement for WSU Extension).  The Gleaning Coordinator gleans crops left in the fields after the harvest.  This produce is then distributed to five food banks county-wide, YMCA Summer Meals Program, Senior Meals, Jefferson County Mental Health Harbor House meal program, DOVE House - a domestic violence shelter - and the Boiler Room - a youth-oriented coffee house which has a free meal program.  The Food Recovery program collects ‘left-overs’ (prepared food) from commercial kitchens, caterers and restaurants, packages, label and date them for distribution to the homeless and seniors who do not have the means or capacity to prepare food themselves.

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