Bounty Hunters is our community-wide food gleaning network that collects fresh, healthy food from backyard gardeners, farms, orchards and businesses. We distribute the food to emergency food providers such as COTS, PEP Housing, Senior Cafe, Salvation Army, and the Interfaith Pantry who serve low-income individuals, families and seniors. Petaluma Bounty Hunters efforts fit into a larger network of stakeholders, service agencies, and players working together toward a single mission- to prevent food waste while helping those in need.
Here is a visual of the Bounty Hunters Network and how it fits into the Emergency Food Providers’ Network in Southern Sonoma County.
If you have extra produce you want to donate, please click here!
If you want to volunteer to be part of the Bounty Hunters Network, please read below!
Petaluma Bounty is always seeking volunteers to help our community be more food secure! To learn about the specific needs of the Bounty Hunters Program, please read Bounty Hunters Volunteer Needs. To get started volunteering with the Bounty Hunters, please email [email protected], and fill out the Volunteer Interest Form on the “Volunteer” page by clicking here.
More on the Food Gleaning Movement
Experts tell us that as much as 47% of food grown and produced in the U.S. ends up in the dump. Meanwhile, 43% of school children in Sonoma County qualify for free or reduced lunch, considered an indicator of poverty and often linked to food insecurity, or a lack of consistent access to healthy food. This begs the question, “Why can’t more of this food go to the people who need it?”
In biblical times, farmers were admonished to leave extra food crops, particularly from fruit trees and cornfields, for the poor and travelers. Throughout history, in many places gleaning was a right granted to the poorest by the rural community, allowing them to return to the fields at sunset to gather the ears of wheat left by the harvesters.
In these days of fast food, “efficient” high-tech agriculture, and rapid transit food distribution systems, you’d think that more food would make it to people’s mouths, and less to the trashcan. But it doesn’t. The number of undernourished and food insecure people continues to grow (even here in Petaluma), in pace with our overflowing landfills.
Enter the modern food gleaning movement. As communities are becoming aware of the vast quantities of good food going to waste, food gleaning programs are sprouting up in many places.
Gleaning can be as simple as a few individuals harvesting their backyard fruit trees and delivering their fresh fruit to a neighbor or a local food pantry, or as complex as a statewide network of non-profits serving tens of thousands of low-income households with farm-picked, packaged or prepared food (and even firewood). In addition to connecting good food to people who need it, folks are discovering that gleaning helps to connect neighbor to neighbor, to increase awareness of the potential bounty of local food systems, and to foster a greater sense of community.