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Our Work Rotary First Harvest- a project of Rotary District 5030 (RFH), began in 1982 and since then has gathered more than 150 million pounds of produce for food banks primarily in Washington State. RFH is a conduit between farmers and the programs that serve hungry individuals and families in our region. Farmers and packers are occasionally left with surplus fruits and vegetables that can’t be sold due to minor imperfections (such as carrots with two legs or apples that are the wrong size or color), or might not be harvested because of a glut on the market. Traditionally, this nutritious produce would be sent to a landfill or left to rot in the fields. Instead, RFH directs it to those in need.

RFH Mission • • • •

To feed the hungry with surplus nutritious food Access and improve food distribution and transportation systems Develop innovative hunger relief solutions Replicate concept of RFH

pg. 4


pg. 8

Fields of Grace

pg. 16

Okanogan County Community Action Council

pg. 22


pg. 29

Northwest Harvest

pg. 34

Small Potatoes

pg. 40

Community Fruit Tree Harvest

pg. 46

P-Patch Giving Gardens

pg. 51

Thurston County Food Bank

pg. 58

Improving Your Gleaning Project

pg. 62


Making Connections Harvest Against Hunger (HAH) is a statewide gleaning project of RFH that supports local hunger relief agencies. The project’s mission is to increase the connections between agricultural producers, community volunteers and local hunger relief efforts.

AmeriCorps*VISTA The Harvest Against Hunger AmeriCorps*VISTA Project started in the Spring of 2009 as a way to increase connections between small- or medium-sized farms and their local food banks. RFH received a grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) for eight AmeriCorps*VISTA volunteer positions. VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America) is a national service program focused on fighting poverty. These eight VISTA members were placed in communities across Washington State to establish gleaning and food recovery programs at a local level.

A Grassroots Solution Gleaning is the act of collecting leftover produce after a field or orchard has been harvested for commercial purposes. It is an ancient practice, dating back several thousand years as a way to help the poor. While in many countries it has historically been part of rural culture, modern day gleaning has become more challenging due to large-scale agriculture, private land and liability issues. However, gleaning is still an effective way to increase the amount of healthy food available for those in need. Community-based gleaning projects can build strong relationships between local farmers and the local emergency food system. There are several different kinds of gleaning. “Field gleaning” refers to crops that have been previously harvested for sale or consumption and the remaining food is collected. “Field gleaning” can also refer to harvesting from trees or fields where it was not economically viable to harvest due to either cosmetic or market conditions. This tends to yield a greater amount of produce. Gleaning can also take the shape of other kinds of food recovery. One of the most efficient is “cull bin gleaning”. Cull is a grade of produce that is unmarketable for a variety of reasons, including size, color or superficial damage. Farmers can also deem produce to be culls if they are in excess. “Cull bin” donations are generally large bins or boxes of produce that then require volunteer labor to sort it.

The need for nutritious produce is what makes this work compelling. Children make up nearly half of the 1.4 million Washington residents relying on their local food bank or emergency meal program. National studies reported in Pediatrics and The American Journal of Public Health show that children who are hungry or “food insecure” (not having enough to eat on a regular basis) are more likely than their well-fed peers to repeat a grade or be suspended, have lower math scores or have social difficulties. Childhood malnutrition has a simple, sure remedy: eating anti-oxidant, vitamin-and mineral-rich fruits and vegetables. All too often, hunger programs lack the staff, funds or equipment to acquire the perishable, nutritious and often, expensive fruits and vegetables that low-income families and individuals need to be healthy. By working with generous agricultural donors, it is possible to increase access to this valuable resource in many different kinds of communities.

Why Farmers Donate Every season, farmers face economic risks based on weather, the market and changing consumer demands. And yet, many farmers are able and willing to donate produce to help address hunger in their community. We’ve found that they are most willing and able to donate when: The need is demonstrated Their produce stays within the region or local community Logistics of transportation and harvest are organized for them Liability issues are addressed

Liability issues are of primary concern to farmers and orchardists, many of whom have their wealth invested in the land. The Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, a federal law, covers the majority of liability issues concerned in gleaning. For more information, visit: Donations may be tax deductible depending on an individual’s situation. Donors should consult their financial advisor for tax advice.

The HAH AmeriCorps*VISTA Project HAH sponsored eight VISTA positions and partnered with other non-profits across Washington state with the goal of strengthening or starting local gleaning projects. These VISTA host sites cover half the state, from urban Seattle to rural Okanogan County. Our community partners range from large non-profits like Northwest Harvest to small community action programs like Okanogan County Community Action Council. This is a strength of the program because we can design specific goal-oriented activities based on the unique community needs and assets of each place and partner organization. The results in numbers In 2009, the Harvest Against Hunger AmeriCorps*VISTA program brought in over one million pounds of produce, worked with 255 new agricultural donors and served 534,000 food bank clients. All of this was made possible by hard working volunteers who served over 6,100 hours gleaning this food. This gleaning resource guide is a result of the hard work of these VISTA volunteers.

Bellingham, Small Potatoes Seattle, Solid Ground, RFH

Olympia, Thurston County Food Bank

Okanogan, Okanogan County Community Action Council

Tri Cities, Fields of Grace Yakima, NW Harvest

How To Use This Guide The Purpose of This Guide is: To share information with other hunger relief organizations who want to expand their gleaning or donation programs To explain the Harvest Against Hunger AmeriCorps*VISTA project in order that it might be replicated in other regions To provide a resource for future volunteers undertaking these endeavors

Each chapter is written by one of the eight AmeriCorps*VISTA volunteers who have worked hard on this project for the last year. The chapters are designed to be case studies in how an organization, or group of volunteers, might design and implement a gleaning project. You can identify a model that might work for you by using the ‘Dashboard’ at the beginning of each chapter.

Host Site Name: City/Area: Characteristics:



Primary agriculture crops: t WFHFUBCMFSPXDSPQT 



Years running a gleaning program t MFTTUIBOZFBST t UPZFBST t NPSFUIBOZFBST

Number of recipient agencies t POF IPTUTJUF


The last chapter of this guide focuses on transportation and capacity challenges that are faced by many food banks, distribution centers and gleaning projects. The format of that chapter is unique. It is designed to help the reader consider what roadblocks they might face in strengthening food recovery programs in their own community, and to provide ideas that might lead to new solutions.

General Recommendations Each AmeriCorps*VISTA member developed five main recommendations for groups starting up a gleaning program. Here is their advice: • Create momentum and ease for growers and volunteers • Create a unique model best suited to your area and organization • Tell your story, make connections and network • Develop a core group of volunteer leaders, but be sensitive to burnout • Encourage positive word of mouth, particularly among farmers • Create positive organizational relationships with food banks • Start small • Communicate with other organizations in the community • Be flexible • Be persistent • Help create self-sustaining relationships, especially between growers and food banks • Track data and stories and take pictures. • Stay organized • Be accommodating, friendly, flexible • Know your produce, consider processing and storage • Schedule events based on your volunteers/community • Volunteer recruitment, vol. management class, don’t limit to certain ages or groups • Secure funding and in-kind donations

By Luke Hallowell

History of Fields of Grace Fields of Grace started in 2006. The seeds of this project were planted at a gleaning event several years prior with Society of St. Andrews (SOSA), the nation’s premier food rescue and distribution ministry. Alissa Watkins, the founder of Fields of Grace, experienced gleaning for the first time not far from her home in Richmond, Virginia. When Alissa made the move across the country to the Mid-Columbia region in Southeastern Washington, she inquired about the existence of a gleaning organization and after learning one did not exist, Fields of Grace was born. Fields of Grace is currently a volunteer-run project that focuses primarily on food gathering from medium to large commercial farms and orchards. This model works best in an area like the Tri-cities area of Southeastern Washington where large scale agriculture meets a developed urban or suburban area. Central to the project is the relationship between Fields of Grace and Second Harvest, a Feeding America affiliate. Second Harvest takes virtually all of the produce supplied by Fields of Grace and distributes it to local food banks and soup kitchens. This relationship has allowed Fields of Grace to maintain its focus primarily on the mission of gathering food and less on the logistics of storage and food distribution (more on this later).

The Gleaning Model Fields of Grace focuses on three segments to gather the majority of the food. The primary focus is on gleaning leftover crops, followed by donated first fruits on the tree or vine and farmer’s market produce rescue. Gleaning is the area with the most growth potential and volume. The donated first fruits guarantee a supply of produce for lean years, but it seems that every year there is an oversupply of at least one crop that leads to ample gleaning opportunities. This year’s goal was set at gathering 100,000 pounds of food in our fourth year. Our goal for the future is to outstrip the local demand for fresh produce of all the food banks in the area and possibly grow our footprint outside of Benton and Franklin Counties.

The project is managed by volunteer staff and a board of directors, but that model won’t last long. Fields of Grace is currently deliberating over a salary for one part-time staff person to manage the program in a consulting and fundraising role. This position could grow to full time if Fields of Grace were able to expand its operational footprint or offer additional services. Fields of Grace is currently limited to a 45 minute drive time range imposed by the director. Fields of Grace asked this question on its annual survey to its volunteers this year and found that the average response to the question about maximum drive times was just above 44 minutes. Most of the agricultural activity in this range lies either in Benton or Franklin Counties. Crop diversity is a strength of this local area, with over 300 crops being grown each year. Fields of Grace has sought to capitalize on the crop diversity by providing over 20 different types of produce to local food banks and soup kitchens. The only crop that isn’t in high demand is the turnip. If any demand exists for a product Fields of Grace will glean it. The most desirable crops, according to the manager at the largest local food bank, are fruit tree crops that often are too expensive for the recipients to purchase.

Donor Recruitment Fields of Grace has been extremely fortunate to have a strong donor recruitment effort. The breakthrough in donor recruitment came as a result of early media coverage back in 2006. An article in the local newspaper prompted a local grower to step up to the plate. Apart from becoming the program’s largest donor, he also became a powerful tool for grower outreach. Fields of Grace gave this grower the title of “Agricultural Liaison” and he has been instrumental in recruiting half of the top 10 donors to Fields of Grace and he sits on the board of directors as well. Other donor outreach has been done through networking at farmer’s markets and agricultural conferences, and via relationships built in collaboration with Second Harvest’s field sourcing representative, Henry Johnson. The media has continued to aid us in reaching out to potential donors, especially residential gleaning opportunities. Growers are asked to provide the following information: The name of their farm The farm’s location Their contact information The types of crops they plan to donate The condition of the crop The amount of time left before the crop spoils Often an inspection is completed to confirm the details provided by the farmer and to provide better directions to the gleaning site. It is critical to be able to answer all of a grower’s concerns before Fields of Grace will be allowed to glean on a farmer’s property. Farmers are most often concerned with the following issues: Their liability and what we do to protect them The level of training the gleaners have The minimum age of gleaning volunteers Whether or not ladders will be used If is a tax benefit exists for their donation Where the food is going and who will receive it Safe handling of the food after it is gleaned Fields of Grace has taken a number of precautionary measures to ensure that growers are comfortable with our practices and policies. Every volunteer must check in before the glean to verify their liability documentation (see appendix). Each volunteer is trained at their orientation as well as site specific training before they leave for the event. More information on the training program is written in the following section on Volunteer Recruitment.

Volunteer Recruitment Churches and local area businesses have been the primary sources of volunteers. The most successful partnerships with churches and business have come as a result of an inside “champion” to promote Fields of Grace within the organization. Without that champion, partnerships aren’t lasting and often result in failure. Because of this, Fields of Grace makes a point of going to the organization to do training to promote a grassroots effort feel and to provide the partnering organization with a sense of ownership over the program. Two of the most successful partnerships have come as a result of getting a person in a position of influence to champion our cause in two different area churches. These two partnerships have resulted in over 150 volunteers being trained. Each of these churches has now embraced Fields of Grace as their own organization. Volunteer Training Each volunteer fills out their contact information at a volunteer orientation and the information is catalogued in a volunteer database, currently managed in Microsoft Excel. Volunteers also sign a separate liability form to idnemnify the growers and Fields of Grace from all liability. Volunteers go through a training session lasting anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour. The topics covered include: The history of gleaning The need that exists locally and nationally The agencies and donors that are involved Ladder and orchard safety The types of produce that is gleaned A typical gleaning day Things to bring to a gleaning event How to dress for gleaning, specifically corn Other ways to volunteer How volunteers will be notified Our goals and the upcoming gleaning events Volunteers are trained using a PowerPoint presentation with information, photos and videos of gleaning events. Additional crop specific training is provided the morning of the event. Fields of Grace is working towards the creation of crop training videos to educate gleaners on how to identify food that is diseased, overripe or that still hasn’t matured.

Volunteer Management Volunteers have taken a large ownership role in Fields of Grace, and many of them assist in duties other than gleaning. Fields of Grace has volunteers that help with everything from volunteer training and check-in to data entry and website design. Volunteers are also recruited to assist the hunger programs who distribute the produce. After gleaning, processing is still kept to a minimum, as food is usually delivered to hunger programs by the bin and the recipients are required to pack their own produce in a bag or box that is provided.

Communication Communication to volunteers has evolved each year of Fields of Grace, and the following is the current preferred method. Volunteers are notified one of three ways: 1. E-mail (the majority of volunteers) 2. Call-em-all, an automated phone call to those who don’t have e-mail access 3. Facebook, which provides us with feedback about who will be attending Volunteers are typically notified anywhere one to four days in advance of a gleaning opportunity using these three methods. Fields of Grace is considering implementation of a policy to promise volunteers at least 48 hour notice, since it is significantly more challenging logistically to arrange a gleaning on short notice. Fields of Grace tries to send out a staff member or volunteer produce inspector to scout the crop and determine the quality and maturity level of the fruits or vegetables. This visit is also used to meet the farmer and plan the logistical details of the gleaning event like parking and bin placement. The produce inspectors are often members of Fields of Grace’s field supervisor team. These individuals are notified almost immediately after a gleaning opportunity is secured to lead the volunteers the day of the event and inspect the produce in advance. In addition to produce inspection and leadership the day of the event, field supervisors are responsible for the following: Call on the farmer to setup a visit earlier in the week Visit the site before the day of the event to plan logistics Design a gleaning method to ensure the most efficient use of volunteers’ time Gather and transport the gleaning equipment to the site the day of the event

Harvesting Harvesting starts in late June and continues until after the first couple nights of freezing weather, typically in mid-to-late November. Most of the gleaning events are scheduled on Saturday morning, although several volunteers requested that more gleaning opportunities be provided on other days of the week. There were only eight gleaning events the first year, whereas last year there were almost 40 events, or an average of over six events every month. Events are typically scheduled in advance, but this is especially difficult with soft flesh fruit, which is highly perishable and often the window of opportunity to harvest is less than one week. On one particular weekend, Fields of Grace had over five separate opportunities to glean apricots, but all of them were close to falling off the trees and the window of opportunity was extremely short. In spite of having six active field supervisors and over 600 registered volunteers, Fields of Grace was unable to take advantage of this bounty of fruit. The maximum number of sites that have been harvested in a single day is three, and the logistical challenges multiply with each site that is added to a gleaning event. On the other hand, many of the apple and carrot gleans with Fields of Grace have been scheduled close to a month in advance, and there is a much larger window of opportunity with most of the commodities that are harvested in the fall, such as potatoes, apples, carrots and late season corn. Volunteers and field supervisors show up in much larger numbers when there is ample advance notice. The largest glean of the season, a carrot glean in October that was attended by 65 volunteers, was advertised almost a month in advance.

Harvesting Continued After scheduling an event, a list of the necessary equipment is made and supplied to the field supervisor for the event. Typical equipment needs include picking bags, buckets and large bins. Certain orchards require ladders to pick, and boxes are needed for more fragile types of produce like cherries. A large wheelbarrow is used when the terrain allows and is used to haul multiple buckets to the vehicles being used to transport the produce. The day of the event, a short training is done after the check-in process is complete and before the volunteers are sent out to the site. Upon arrival to the site, a demonstration of the training is given by the field supervisor with any additional information specific to the situation and crop. Gleaning etiquette is taught at the initial volunteer training session and reiterated during the training the day of the event. Occasionally the farmer joins our gleaners to provide more in-depth training and education. Fields of Grace has captured some of these trainings on video and plans to use them to create a more dynamic video training program to supplement the current training mechanism that is being used.

Logistics Prior to and during the gleaning event, the logistics are coordinated as a joint effort between the grower, the field supervisor, a cold storage facility, Fields of Grace and Second Harvest staff. Oftentimes this is the most labor intensive part of the gleaning process to plan, since it is rare that two gleaning events are identical from a logistical standpoint. Most of the responsibility of coordination falls on the Fields of Grace gleaning or program coordinators. The first phone call is typically made to the operations manager of Second Harvest Tri-Cities, a Feeding America affiliate and branch of Second Harvest Inland Northwest. The operations manager is responsible for the placement of the product at the local food banks and soup kitchens and the majority of the transportation from the field is provided by Second Harvest. The operations manager then confirms the amount of product that is needed for the next week or two by the local agencies that are supplied by Second Harvest and if Second Harvest is able to provide transportation from the field to a storage facility.

Capacity And Transportation In many cases the product requires cold storage, so an analysis of the available cooler space at the Second Harvest warehouse is made. More often than not, there isn’t sufficient space to store the large quantity of produce that is gleaned by Fields of Grace. If that is the case, a call is placed to Columbia Distributing, a local beverage distributor who has agreed to donate an area of their walk in cooler for produce storage as needed. After the cold storage has been secured, a visit or call is made to the farm to determine the supply of produce. Often this is done before the agency calls are made by the operations manager to determine if the supply can outstrip the demand of the local food banks. Transportation is often the most difficult item to coordinate. In the event that Second Harvest has a driver available to join the gleaners on the field on a Saturday, the problem is quickly solved. Second Harvest has a large refrigerated truck with a 10 bin capacity that was donated by ConAgra Foods with a lift gate on the back that allows the operator to lower and raise the produce bins and make it much easier to fill them.

Capacity And Transportation Continued In the event that no one is available from Second Harvest, e-mails and calls must be made to a list of transport volunteers to confirm that there is ample transportation available to proceed with the event. In some cases this is the factor that limits the amount of produce that can be gleaned. However, in the middle of the 2009 gleaning season, a very committed volunteer came forward with a large pickup truck and trailer with the capacity to haul four full bins of produce. Fields of Grace is considering adopting a policy to provide gas cards to frequent transport volunteers as the budget allows. Also, Fields of Grace recently received a donation offer of several vehicles capable of transporting additional produce that may be adopted by the organization to be used in the event that other transportation isn’t readily available.

Distribution After the produce is dropped off, Fields of Grace turns the produce over to Second Harvest for distribution to the food banks. On rare occasions, the produce is taken directly to hunger programs, but most of them are not equipped with sufficient storage capacity or a scale to weigh the produce. The operations manager at Second Harvest is responsible for weighing the produce, and then it is posted to the Fields of Grace gleaning report by the gleaning coordinator at Fields of Grace. This allows the volunteers to track their progress towards their annual goal and see how many servings are being provided to local hunger programs as a result of their efforts. In the future, Second Harvest hopes to have ample on-site storage to allow Fields of Grace to grow and glean a surplus of produce to supply hunger programs in the off-season months. This would also reduce some of the legwork required to manage the logistics of a gleaning event. Currently Second Harvest Tri-Cities is in the middle of a $2 million capital campaign to expand facilities.

Wrap Up Volunteer and Donor Appreciation At the end of a gleaning event, donors are thanked with a card signed by all of the volunteers. In addition, the most committed donors are honored at a year-end harvest meal celebration. Volunteers who have gone the extra mile are also honored, with people in leadership receiving recognition by name. The field supervisor team received special bandanas and all volunteers in attendance at the harvest meal were entered into a drawing for various gleaning prizes. The harvest meal event was first instituted in November 2009, with nearly 100 people in attendance. Future plans are being made to honor volunteers based on the number of times they gleaned or carpooled to the gleaning site. In addition, Fields of Grace hopes to kick off the 2010 gleaning season with a concert to get everyone excited for the upcoming season. Data Management Volunteer and donor data is managed in a series of spreadsheets, but an emphasis has been put on moving towards using a database management software program to manage the data in the future. This stands as a critical off-season activity. Options under review include: Microsoft Access, Google Docs and forms, and the Dabble database management program.

Wrap Up Continued Another off-season project is a volunteer survey to evaluate Fields of Grace and methods employed by the program. Currently there have been over forty responses from over 600 volunteers. Topics in the survey include: Number of Gleaning Events attended by the volunteer The Primary method used to find out about gleaning events The amount of information that is sent out by Fields of Grace The minimum advance notice that should be provided The maximum drive time that is acceptable What the volunteer likes most about volunteering Suggestions to improve the organization Overall, responses have been positive and supportive of the way Fields of Grace currently operates. The suggestions are being considered and Fields of Grace hopes to provide the results to the entire organization and what is being done as a result of those suggestions. Fundraising At the end of 2009, Fields of Grace applied for its 501(c)(3) status to become a non-profit organization in the state of Washington independent of Westside Church, which has served as the program’s fiscal sponsor. As soon as the application is completed, Fields of Grace will be in a stronger position for fundraising activities. Current fundraising efforts are limited to funds being provided by the three churches who participate in the program. Future fundraising will include grant writing, events and dinners and solicitation of individual donations. For now, Fields of Grace continues to operate on an incredibly small budget and donated resources.

Five Essential Points of Advice 1. Adopt a strategy to best fit the strengths of your volunteer base and donors, since they are your bread and butter. Don’t try to fit a square peg in a round hole. 2. Whatever your inspiration is, don’t stop telling your story. You never know what opportunities or contributions may arise as a result of a conversation. 3. Surround yourself with a dedicated core group of volunteers. The success of your organization will hinge upon their ability to help lead and recruit others. 4. Farmers are a close knit community and word spreads fast. Use this to your advantage and use foresight to avoid negative publicity in this group. Without farmers participating, a gleaning organization’s growth will be severely limited. 5. Develop strong relationships with the hunger programs and other agencies. This will allow you to focus on gleaning the most necessary types of produce.

Contact Information Fields of Grace 509-392-1455

History of the OCCAC

By Genevieve Caron

The Okanogan County Community Action Council (OCCAC) has been a part of the Okanogan community for over 45 years. It houses the town of Okanogan’s hunger program as well as the distribution center for other hunger programs in the county. It works to get the homeless back on their feet and assists the financially unstable with energy bills and home repair. The town of Okanogan has approximately 2500 residents, and the county of Okanogan has approximately 40,000 residents. Okanogan County is a rural and largely agricultural area that has over 1600 farms, many fruit packing plants, and 7 hunger programs. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2008 an estimated 19.6% of the county’s population was living under the poverty line. In early spring of 2009, OCCAC employees started a small space demonstration garden in the parking lot of OCCAC’s building as a gardening educational tool for the community. While the gardening project was beginning in mid-spring, OCCAC was contacted by RFH in Seattle to assess any interest in starting a gleaning program as a part of the statewide Harvest Against Hunger project. The goals from both the demonstration garden and Harvest Against Hunger coincided nicely to create a well-rounded nutrition program, now known as Food For All. With the help of a full-time Americorps VISTA sent by HAH to help solidify the program, Food For All is currently in its first year and is making its presence known within the community.

Food For All’s goal is to increase the amount of nutritionally dense foods available to Okanogan County’s community members. While this chapter will focus on gleaning, OCCAC hopes to achieve this through the following aspects of the Food For All program: Gleaning Gardening education Nutrition education Food preservation education, and lending canning tools to community members

The Gleaning Model Gleaning Management/Organization Currently, the VISTA volunteer manages all aspects of the gleaning project. In the long term, community volunteers will lead the gleaning project, but initial program development required a dedicated staff person. OCCAC is looking to increase its overall volunteer participation and hopes to find some preliminary funding through grants to hire a volunteer coordinator who will organize gleaning events in the future. Gleaning format Food For All conducts gleaning in a number of ways: Field gleaning Pickup of pre-harvested produce (often requires transferring into different containers and/or sorting out bad items from good) Produce donations directly to the food bank, from farmers or packing plants Pickup of farmers market culls To better focus and organize our efforts, we place priority on gleaning farms within 25 miles of OCCAC, with hopes to expand as the program grows.

Choosing Which Gleaning Opportunities to Pursue Many factors are involved in deciding which gleaning opportunities are worthy of follow-through: Will the produce last until distribution day without spoiling? Is there ample refrigeration space? Is the quantity too much to distribute? Is the amount of produce available worth the volunteer labor?

Selecting Crops to Glean Food For All accepts most types of produce offered, with the exception of rotted or frozen items. We also give consideration to food bank client preferences. Here were some of our favorite things to glean this year: Medium/large tomatoes add up quickly and are very desirable at food banks Summer and winter squash are usually in abundance and store well Leafy greens are requested by food bank clients and are not a commonly donated item Carrots are not only desirable at food banks, but keep well and add up in mass quickly

Donor Recruitment Reaching Out An organization needs to gain a certain level of trust and familiarity with a farmer before expecting him or her to take an active role as a gleaning donor. Our most successful donor outreach methods were: Partnering with farmers markets, including regular tabling and communication with market coordinators Networking and tabling at public events, like fairs, wine tastings, and harvest festivals Speaking at agriculture-related club/association meetings Friends of friends Overall friendly interactions with active community members Information to Exchange Before Gleaning When Food For All is contacted about surplus crops, farmers are asked about the following: The amount of surplus How many gleaners are needed What equipment is available at the farm and what is needed to be provided by OCCAC Last recommended day for picking in terms of spoilage Convenient times for picking Farmers are offered signed copies of volunteer waivers as well as a copy of the Emerson Good Samaritan Act. Despite this, many farmers are uncomfortable with volunteers using ladders since they would like to avoid having anyone get hurt on their property.

Volunteer Recruitment Reaching Out Volunteer recruitment has been most successful through: Tables set up at fairs, farmers markets, and festivals Word of mouth from existing volunteers or OCCAC employees Brochures distributed in the community Networking and invitations to speak at service club or church meetings Some volunteer recruitment ideas are planned for the off season, including contacting local organizations looking to volunteer, such as churches, schools, or philanthropic businesses. We hope to advertise through flyers, bookmarks at libraries, and through the newspaper and local radio shows. Volunteer Intake Food For All asks new volunteers for the following information: Contact information Availability Areas of interest (flyer making, organizing, active gleaning) The types of vehicles that they drive (SUVs and pickup trucks are useful for gleaning events) At their first gleaning event, volunteers fill out a liability waiver which gets filed with the rest of their information. Volunteers Volunteers are asked whether they prefer telephone or e-mail and are contacted accordingly. Thus far, contacting volunteers has been a lot of work and an alternate method may need to be found as the number of volunteers grows. We may begin using a calling tree, an automated calling machine, or will prioritize calling certain volunteers based on their availability. Currently there are about 45 volunteers on the database.

Harvesting Timing Food For All holds both spontaneous and scheduled gleaning events. We hold a regularly scheduled collection of farmers market culls. Field gleaning occurs spontaneously, as growers have surpluses due to market and weather changes. Growers have given us as much as two weeks’ advance notice, or as little as one day advance notice. Equipment In terms of equipment, thus far, only boxes have been needed by the Food For All program. All farmers have been willing to supply picking bags and/or ladders when necessary. In the future, we anticipate needing to provide our own picking bags as volunteer numbers begin to increase. Training Volunteer training includes a lesson given by an on site pear picker on how to avoid tearing off the bud that carries next year’s harvest, in addition to the mention of basic courtesy rules.

Harvesting Continued Logistics Transportation The VISTA and other volunteers provide transportation for all gleaning activities. In the area, a large percentage of community members own either a pickup truck or an SUV, making it relatively easy to have at least one large vehicle on site. We hope to reimburse volunteers with gift cards for gas. For larger loads, a truck is also available from the Okanogan Food Bank. Processing and Storage It is important to make sure there is adequate cooler space or to harvest produce close to a hunger program distribution day. After each gleaning event, all the volunteers help to unload the boxes, weigh the produce, and stack it all in the cooler. To address storage issues with hunger programs that do not have the cooler space for highly perishable items, fruit has been picked the day before and dropped off at the hunger program either that evening or the morning of collection. To make things easier in the future, we hope to find donated cooler space or create partnerships with businesses near the hunger programs that would allow us to use their cooler space for the storage of gleaned produce.

Wrap Ups Thank Yous After a completed gleaning event, farmers were either called or emailed to be informed about the results, total pounds, and ending locations of the produce. At the end of every month, in-kind donation letters were mailed to donors who requested them, along with a little note of thanks. After post-season surveys, it was found that donors would like more information about gleaning events sent by mail so that they could have something physical to show family and friends. As a result, a monthly thank you post card will be sent to farmers with more information about that month’s gleaning events. We anticipate these post cards will be a useful tool for keeping farmers engaged and knowledgable about the impact they have created. At the end of the season, we created and distributed a Food For All newsletter to volunteers and donors. Holiday thank you packets were sent to all of the program’s donors and community members. These packets were warmly received. An end-of-season volunteer appreciation gathering was also held, allowing volunteers to meet one another, hear a recap of the season’s gleans and understand the big picture of the Food For All program.

Data Management Currently, the VISTA volunteer uses the following Excel spreadsheets to keep track of all donors, volunteers, gleaning events, and hunger program logistics: Volunteer data (personal information and service hours) Donor information, including the crops grown and whether they need in-kind donation receipts Involved community member contact information A time-keeping daily log of activities A list of all crops collected and their weights, organized by date and farm

Fundraising Fundraising projects include: Selling t-shirts with a Food For All logo Letters to local organizations asking for help with the program Networking with local service organizations (Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs) and attending community events to spread the word about our program get businesses and community members interested in donating

Five Essential Points of Advice 1. Do your research. When starting off, begin from the base of the program: hunger programs, their clients and other produce outlets. Conduct surveys to learn what is wanted by clients at hunger programs and know the refrigerated spaces, food capacities and hunger program schedules to create a goal for an ideal supply of food. 2. Network. Regular face-to-face contacts or introductions through friends work best. In a small community, the best way to find donors, volunteers, and active community members was to get involved in public events, festivals, markets and agriculture-related or philanthropic organizations. 3. Stay organized. It can sometimes be difficult to connect all three dots (farms, volunteers, and hunger programs) for a gleaning event while maintaining a professional image with each party. Being organized will go a long way in keeping a good reputation within the community. 4. Be extremely accommodating and friendly. Many people have a big heart and are willing to help, but will only go so far to do so. They will say they want to donate produce, and that is a first step, but a lot has to be done on your part to make it happen. 5. Keep the big picture in mind. Keeping the program’s goals and how they connect to the big picture in mind helps to keep my mind fresh and creative and regularly gives me inspiration to keep going.

Contact Information For more information, please contact the OCCAC: 509-422-4041 Ext 30 for Food For All representative

By Theresa Owen

History of Harvest Against Hunger at RFH Rotary First Harvest (RFH) started the Harvest Against Hunger (HAH) gleaning program in 2008. In its first year, the HAH Program Director began developing gleaning capacity throughout the entire state of Washington. For the 2009 harvest season, an AmeriCorps*VISTA served as the gleaning coordinator for the program, focusing on Seattle’s surrounding counties. While the RFH office is in the city, gleaning occurs in gardens and on farms across Pierce, King and Snohomish Counties. Gleaned produce is taken to a food bank near the farm or garden so it helps people in the community where it was grown. In addition to these farm gleans, HAH organized the collection of produce from several Seattle farmers markets for meal programs within the city.

The Gleaning Model The goals for this food recovery project include: Help growers donate to their local hunger program Provide gleaners, transportation and/or logistical support for donations to occur Recover food from farmers markets for meal programs Engage community volunteers in hunger relief Create a sustainable food recovery project

The following information describes how the gleaning coordinator organized a food recovery program in this region—including collection of surplus produce from farms, home gardens, and farmers markets. Because the program is new and still growing, information reflects the gleaning coordinator’s experience in starting a program essentially from scratch. Goals for the future of the program are described as well.

Donor Recruitment Bringing awareness of the HAH program to growers was the first step for getting the gleaning program off the ground. With some research, contact information of growers in the region was found on local agriculture extension and university websites,, farmers market listings and a variety of local publications. The most successful feedback and results for recruiting growers came from simply making phone calls, attending farm conferences, participating in agriculture extension classes and tours and word of mouth. Information about the program went out to growers via the following methods: farm conferences word of mouth agricultural extension press releases and publications

fliers direct mail agriculture non-profits outreach at farmers markets

listservs e-mail former gleaning groups phone calls to growers

Growers are busy in the harvest season so persistence was important in the recruitment process. Fliers and letters included information about how gleaning helps growers, too: Donations made by growers may be tax deductible Growers can see the fruits (or veggies!) of their labor stay within their local community and go to a good cause Unmarketable produce doesn’t go to waste Responses from growers varied. Many have smaller farms and simply don’t have surplus produce available to donate. Others responded positively, and contacted HAH with their gleaning

Donor Recruitment Continued opportunities. When the gleaning coordinator is contacted by a grower, the following questions are asked to help direct the gleaning event: What is the crop, and when will it be ready for harvest? How much is there? (an estimate in pounds, or trees, or cases, or boxes) Do you have an idea of how many volunteers are needed for harvesting? When would you like to schedule the gleaning? Do you have boxes and tools available for the harvest? Can you, or a field manager, be there to show the volunteers how you’d like the crop harvested? Do you know of other growers in your area that might also have produce for gleaning? Are there any specific directions or instructions? Information about liability is communicated to the grower. They are protected by the Emerson Good Samaritan Food Recovery Act (see appendix). Additionally, detailed information is provided about the schedule, the number of participating volunteers and where the produce will be donated. A receipt will be sent to the grower from the hunger program and their donation may be tax deductible.

Volunteer Recruitment Volunteers are the heart of a successful gleaning program. Volunteer gleaners have been recruited using several methods, and from a variety of places: Fliers University clubs Press releases and publications Rotary clubs Outreach at farmers markets Agriculture non-profits Facebook Faith groups Schools Hunger programs Corporate volunteer groups Volunteer clubs RFH website Volunteer websites (United Way, Volunteer Match,, Craigs List) Volunteer Intake To get involved in gleaning, volunteers contact the gleaning coordinator directly or sign-up through the HAH website. Volunteer contact information is recorded in Constant Contact (www., an email software website that allows you to easily send e-mails to volunteers and manage list of contacts. Volunteers also have the option of joining a HAH Facebook group to stay informed of volunteer events. While Constant Contact is convenient for e-mailing large numbers of volunteers and creating newsletters, the process of signing up is somewhat impersonal. In the future, the gleaning coordinator will process all volunteer requests directly. This will help personalize the first interaction with a volunteer, and enable the coordinator to find out more information about their interests in gleaning. Volunteer Training Volunteers have busy city lives and limited accessibility to the RFH office or farms, so training occurs at the farm immediately before the gleaning event. At a volunteer’s first gleaning event they fill out a liability waiver and contact information form. The introduction includes a welcome, guidance and tips for harvesting, information about where the produce will be donated and any other specific directions from the grower.

Logistics Gleaning Requires a Careful Balance of Logistics, Including: Coordinating with growers and volunteers the appropriate time to harvest Determining the closet hunger program that is open and can accept the produce Organizing boxes or crates to harvest into Setting up carpools for volunteers Arranging transportation of the produce (ideally the hunger program picks up or volunteers help deliver) Planning a Gleaning Event Most gleaning events occur on an on-call basis. Often growers have only a few days to get the surplus produce out of the field or orchard. This leaves limited time to organize the logistics before it’s time to harvest. Several factors need to be considered, for example: volunteers are more often available on weekends when hunger programs tend to be closed and unable to accept donations, and if a hunger program does not have the capacity to pick up the produce, volunteers may need access to a car so they can help transport food. Developing relationships and trust with hunger programs, volunteers and growers helped in coordinating these logistics, and allowed for some flexibility. Alternatively, if a group of volunteers wants to harvest on a specific date, farms are contacted to see if they will have any produce available at that time. While ideal for volunteers, growers in general have not been able to plan that far in advance. For future seasons, the goal is to organize consistent weekly or monthly gleans on farms so volunteers can plan in advance. Communication Volunteers are informed of gleaning events through e-mail using Constant Contact, Facebook, or personal phone calls. An instructional sheet is sent to all participating volunteers, including information about directions, what to wear, parking and a contact phone number. Volunteers are matched with certain crops; i.e. elderly volunteers may find it challenging to harvest corn and it might not be safe to have kids harvest a crop like broccoli with knives. The Harvest Volunteers meet at the farm at a prearranged time. Before the gleaning begins, volunteers are given a quick tutorial on how to properly harvest the produce. The grower offers advice for this and provides any necessary instructions. Depending on the produce to be gleaned, the equipment needs vary. Some equipment such as fruit pickers and pitchforks have been borrowed from Seattle Tilth, an agricultural non profit in the city. At times, growers will lend supplies such as knives and shovels. Boxes or crates are needed to store and transport produce. These are either donated from a food distribution center or come from the hunger program where the produce will be donated. Most gleaning events last two to three hours and occur in the morning.

Logistics Continued Transportation Transportation is considered in two ways: getting volunteers to a farm with carpools and transporting produce to a hunger program. Ideally, a hunger program will pickup the produce at the farm, but because of stretched resources of vehicles, staff and open hours, this isn’t always possible. In this case, special arrangements are made for volunteers to help transport produce in their vehicles. Produce Recipients Produce gleaned on farms goes to the nearest hunger program that can store it and/or help transport it. In general, the recipients have scales and weigh the produce. The hunger program then mails a receipt to the grower. It’s helpful to call the hunger program ahead of time and check if they will accept gleaned produce—based on supply and demand, storage facilities, and client needs, hunger programs have different needs.

Food Bank

Number of Volunteers

Volunteer Hours

Pounds Gleaned


Tahoma Farm

Northwest Harvest





Oxbow Farm






WSU Farm Puyallup

FISH Foodbank













2009 Gleaning Record for Field Gleans


Tracking Donations For each gleaning event, information is recorded about the farm or homeowner, hunger program, volunteers, and the amount of produce gleaned. This information is important when applying for grants and planning for future gleaning seasons. This spreadsheet is an example of how the information is recorded.

120 2048

Capacity Challenges Some hunger programs do not have the capacity to store all of the produce gleaned and donated. For example, the Snohomish Community Food Bank could not accept more than 600 pounds of gleaned produce due to limited storage space, an unexpected obstacle. Fortunately, the remaining 1,000 pounds of produce could be dispersed to other neighboring programs. Additionally, volunteers offered to return to the farm on a weekly basis to continue harvesting at a rate that the hunger program could accept and use the produce. Volunteer Retention After a gleaning event, an email is sent to volunteers to let them know how much produce they helped glean and where it was donated. This helps them understand how their efforts really made an impact. They are thanked and encouraged to come back for future gleans. In the non-harvest season, volunteers will have the option of joining a “Hunger Team” of volunteers. This group attends monthly volunteer events focused on hunger issues, for example, cooking for a meal program or distributing food at a hunger program. This will keep volunteers active, engaged, and ready to come back for the next gleaning season.

Farmers Markets In 2009, HAH began gleaning left-over produce from farmers markets in Seattle. During the harvest season, the city is overflowing with produce at weekly markets where growers from the surrounding counties sell their produce. Perishable food that is left over at the end of the markets is often unmarketable and composted. This is a great opportunity for recovering fresh produce that would otherwise go to waste. The Market Master at each Seattle market was contacted to determine if a pick-up was needed. They helped provide information about timing and logistics of gleaning at their particular market. It is important that consistent, weekly pick-ups are arranged so there is no hassle for Market Masters and vendors. Volunteers for farmers markets need a car or truck so they can pick-up and deliver the produce. Farmers market produce has gone to hot meal programs to accommodate unusual market schedules in the evenings and on the weekends. Hot meal programs also have the ability to use a variety of produce for cooking purposes. Since many markets are non-profit organizations, the produce is weighed and a receipt sent to the market. For each market, the goal is to have a group of committed volunteers that organizes gleaning amongst themselves and is committed to working throughout the whole market season.

Wrap Up All of the organizing and work that goes into planning a gleaning event becomes well worth the effort when a group of volunteers comes together and dedicates their Saturday morning to getting fresh, gleaned produce for people in need. At the end of the harvest season, letters are sent to volunteers and growers who participated. Volunteers and growers receive hand-written thank you letters and growers are asked for feedback about the gleaning season. Additionally, an end of harvest season event and celebration is organized for volunteers. Grants While gleaning produce is essentially free, there are costs for managing a food recovery plan. Local chains and grocery stores offer in-kind donations or discounts for supplying hard-working volunteers with refreshments. For the bigger picture, local foundations and granting organizations can offer funds to help with operating costs. Funding can help pay for staff time, transportation, boxes, etc.

Future: Looking forward, there are several things that would make a more sustainable and successful food recovery project, including: Arrange weekly or monthly *consistent* gleans with farms Get hunger programs more involved in providing volunteer and transportation resources when possible Self-organized farmers market volunteers More grower involvement More direct donations from farm to hunger programs Encourage growers to grow an extra row for the hungry Pursue gleaning from produce stands and food distribution centers in and around Seattle Engage volunteers based in the farm’s community

Five Essential Points of Advice 1. Be flexible! Gleaning opportunities don’t offer a lot of planning time, so prepare as best you can and then go with the flow. 2. Encourage donations and gleaning events to occur without your assistance—it will be more sustainable in the long run if growers and volunteers are committed to recovering food on their own accord. 3. Don’t be afraid to approach growers for donations. You will be helping them get surplus produce they worked hard to grow to people who really need it. 4. Ask volunteers to get people they know involved in the cause. Chances are their like-minded friends will be into volunteering and gleaning, too. 5. Gleaning appeals to all ages, so don’t limit yourself when looking for loyal, hard-working volunteers!

Contact Information Rotary First Harvest 206-236-0408

History of the NWHY Gleaning Program The mission of Northwest Harvest is to provide nutritious food to hungry people in Washington State in a manner that respects their dignity, while working to eliminate hunger. Founded in 1967, Northwest Harvest has grown to become a statewide food distribution agency, annually securing over 24 million pounds. Northwest Harvest is community funded and supported by their generous donors and volunteers. With the help of approximately 300 partner food banks and meal programs statewide, Northwest Harvest applies its over 40 years of expertise to achieving their vision of making nutritious food available to everyone in Washington State. Among the core values of this organization is the willingness to foster the collaboration of individuals and organizations in addressing the issues of hunger. Northwest Harvest’s Yakima warehouse and distribution center, which provided the office and local supervision for this VISTA assignment, was established in 1991. From its inception, this facility has included various large scale food recovery models to capture the Yakima Valley’s agricultural bounty for Northwest Harvest’s partner food banks and meal programs. Currently, forty hunger programs are directly served from this site.

In May of 2009, Northwest Harvest began a new partnership with the Harvest Against Hunger VISTA project, a program of RFH. The role for the Yakima VISTA position has been to serve as a development resource for several independent local gleaning initiatives, rather than focusing exclusively on the host site’s own historic approach and organizational model for increasing food recovery. The cumulative results of supporting and expanding various gleaning efforts across the spectrum of food recovery were significant: over 250,000 pounds of nutritious fruits and vegetables were recovered. This number represents the combined total of small after-harvest row crop gleans, of larger harvest events in commercial orchards, and also the increased capture of cull-bins and bulk donations. In each of these differing gleaning models, this food would have been wasted without the involvement of generous donors and the active response of volunteers from individuals and community groups, to churches and schools.

Background to the Tribal Lands Gleaning Initiative In the fall of 2008, a representative of Harvest Against Hunger met with various agencies and organizations in order to discuss issues of hunger and food recovery. These discussions culminated in the decision to have a pilot program in place for the 2009 growing season which would increase row-crop gleaning on lands owned by the Yakama Nation. This pilot program was planned to work in tandem with educational programs in growing and preserving food, and increasing accessibility to garden spaces. The intended outcome is to increase self-sufficiency of families and to decrease their need for external support through food programs and government support. For this program, gleaning was to focus on collecting leftover row-crops from farmers’ fields after they have been commercially harvested or on fields where it is not economically profitable to harvest. The initial gleaning events focused on after-harvest gleaning of commercial potato fields located on the tribal lands of the Yakama Nation. This component of the overall VISTA assignment would be the easiest to replicate by newly forming gleaning groups, smaller feeding programs, and even individuals who need to expand their access to nutritious produce in these difficult economic times.

The Gleaning Model The VISTA volunteer actively managed the gleaning events during the 2009 crop season, making connections for ongoing relationships between recipient groups and farmers. Developing these connections is the most important factor for the sustainability of this pilot project. A challenge for a gleaning program is the unpredictability of harvest time. Potato gleans proved to be an answer to this challenge; they have potential to provide a continual source of produce to hunger program clients and allow volunteers to be active and engaged consistently.

Potato Gleans Developing a donor relationship with a potato farmer will likely yield the chance to glean small amounts (250-700 lbs) per day throughout the growing season. If desired, this daily amount can be increased by expanding the number of donors and the number of fields gleaned in a day. The predictable availability of after-harvest potato gleaning opportunities is useful for keeping volunteers consistently engaged when between the other crops which have a shorter and less predictable harvest season. After-harvest gleaning of commercial potato fields does not require digging, climbing ladders or any special equipment. The major hurdles of transportation, storage and staffing to coordinate other larger models of gleaning do not apply. Using this simple gleaning model, it is possible to gather locally and only to the extent of your need and ability to transport and store. This model can be structured to empower individuals and small family groups to gather food for themselves, without going to an intermediate agency. In 2009, a total of 1,540 pounds of potatoes were obtained in 4 different gleaning events. Local recipient groups included a homeless shelter, a long house, and a feeding program. Along with these, other local feeding programs are being informed of this ongoing program and invited to develop a gleaning group to gather for their own program next season.

Pick-A-Thon In Yakima, an annual pick-a-thon is organized for students from the local La Salle High School. Students spend a day on an orchard harvesting apples. This fruit is donated to Northwest Harvest and distributed to families in the Yakima region. By participating in this gleaning event, students are exposed to the realities of farm life, a critical part of their region’s history and tradition. Additionally, teachers have developed curricula based on the project, including social justice, mathematics, history and other components. The partnership between La Salle High School, Northwest Harvest, and the orchard’s owner is a great success, providing tens of thousands of pounds of gleaned fruit each year. Not only do students benefit from a unique and hands-on learning opportunity, they also offer a great service to their community, providing those in need with nutritious produce.

Donor Recruitment The potato glean project had been promoted to the various commercial potato farmers who leased tribal lands for the upcoming 2010 season. Specific business marketing principles were applied in reaching out to growers, and in fact formed the basis of all successful donor and volunteer outreach for the other components of the Yakima VISTA assignment. The suggestions presented in Lois K. Geller’s book Customers for Keeps were especially useful in adapting recruitment strategies and methods to the geo-cultural characteristics present in the Yakima Valley. This book explores strategies for relationship building that are as effective for small gleaning initiatives as they are for large corporations.

Volunteer Recruitment The volunteer base for the tribal lands gleaning initiative came from the commitment of the Campbell Farm Retreat Center. They made potato gleaning a regular component in their curriculum for their guests. In the future, several local feeding programs are interested in becoming directly involved in gleaning events next season.

Communication The primary mode of communication is through phone calls and in-person meetings. The VISTA facilitates direct relationships between the donor and the volunteer gleaners. This direct line of communication makes gleaning more efficient and eliminates the need to scout fields before a gleaning event.

Harvesting Although an after-harvest gleaning of potato fields requires no digging, it does require a special technique and careful timing for best results. The best gleaning can be done by gathering directly behind a potato harvesting machine, while being careful not to impede the harvest process. Also, it is critical to organize the harvest for a cool time of day. There is a reason commercial harvests often begin as early as 4:30 a.m. in the Yakima Valley: heat endangers field workers and diminishes the quality and nutrition of the potatoes. A 6:00 a.m. start for gleaning events is optimal, and certain populations of volunteers may be available for an early start.

Wrap-Up During this last harvest season, the groundwork was laid for future gleaning projects in the Yakima valley. Relationships were established and procedures developed. This component of the overall Yakima VISTA project expands the possibilities for families in need to have the opportunity to obtain nutritious produce.

Essential Points of Advice 1. Do not allow the field workers to make any direct “donations” of machine harvested product unless it is with the farmer’s approval. 2. Careful listening during both grower and volunteer outreach can alert you to problems or opportunities that you didn’t know existed. 3. Know the wider food assistance network in your area. They may be able to provide you with gleaning opportunities that fit your own groups focus and capacity. There is also the possibility that you may uncover food recovery opportunities that are best captured by their area of expertise.

Contact Information Northwest Harvest, Yakima County: 800-722-6924

By Dorothy Mitchell

History of the Small Potatoes Gleaning Project The Small Potatoes Gleaning Project was created in 2001 and quickly grew in scale, with volunteers harvesting between 50,000 and 125,000 pounds of local produce a year. For its first eight years the project had no paid staff. Various like-minded local non-profits nominally took on Small Potatoes over the years so that it could receive funding. In 2009, however, the founder stepped back from her leadership role and Small Potatoes came under the administration of the Bellingham Food Bank. Small Potatoes now has a paid coordinator, an AmeriCorps VISTA member, and access to the resources of the Bellingham Food Bank. These resources are critical to Small Potatoes’ success.

The Gleaning Model The focus of Small Potatoes is to collect and distribute fresh fruits and vegetables. This produce comes from a variety of sources. Much of the fruit that is gleaned comes from trees growing in the yards of Bellingham and Whatcom County residents. These gleans are often small; they require only a few volunteers and net about 100-300 pounds of fruit. However, some homeowners in more rural areas have large home orchards that might yield more than 1,000 pounds of plums, apples, and other tree fruit. Home fruit gleans usually require the use of orchard ladders.

The Gleaning Model Small Potatoes also harvests produce from area farms and commercial orchards. These gleans generally require more volunteers and net a greater amount of produce; often a few thousand pounds. Carrots, potatoes, corn, and squash are some of the row crops gleaned from farms, while apples are the most common crop gleaned from local orchards. Most commercial apples in the area grow on dwarf trees or espaliers and are easy to harvest without ladders. Another important source of produce is the local farmers market held twice weekly in Bellingham. 1-3 volunteers collect unsold produce from farm vendors at the market. The farmers are happy to give away produce that is too perishable to truck home and resell. Depending on the time of year, the farmers market volunteers collect between 100 and 900 pounds of produce per market. Towards the end of the harvest season, Small Potatoes also works with farmers to see that pre-harvested produce does not go to waste. Volunteers sort through bins of apples or potatoes in cold storage, or staff use the food bank truck to pick up pallets or totes of vegetables that farmers cannot sell. Rarely does Small Potatoes turn down a gleaning opportunity if the produce is both in good condition and physically accessible. It is important, however, to consider such factors as the crop’s shelf-stability, its popularity with clients, and whether it will require further processing (like washing or bagging). Some crops, such as cherry plums, might be best for canning projects if those are available. Small Potatoes is managed by the AmeriCorps VISTA and by a Project Coordinator who is on the Bellingham Food Bank payroll. The Project Coordinator position will remain after the VISTA position no longer exists.

Donor Recruitment Small Potatoes’ two main agricultural donors are homeowners and farmers. Small Potatoes has reached out to homeowners in a variety of ways. One method has been to speak at local Neighborhood Association meetings in order to educate homeowners about how they can donate their excess tree fruit. Flyers have been placed at the local co-op and farmers market, and mini press releases sent to local groups such as churches and the Master Gardeners for publication in their bulletins or newsletters. However, these methods seem not to have resulted in many produce donations so far, although hopefully such efforts have been useful from an education standpoint. The most effective and most highly recommended outreach tool has been periodic press releases sent to local newspapers and radio stations. Recruiting farmers can be difficult, too. Staff and volunteers speak to many farmers each week at the Bellingham Farmers Market during produce collection, but this has not necessarily resulted in more gleans on the farms themselves. Other outreach activities have included advertising the gleaning project in local agricultural listservs, calling farmers, and sending them yearly letters. Staff also attended a local trade expo for food producers and buyers, but fewer farmers attended the event than expected. Despite these many outreach attempts, it seems that farmers are so busy that they often overlook efforts to contact them. Even so, Small Potatoes has gleaned from a number of area farmers. Some of these connections arose without any initial communication attempt on the part of Small Potatoes, while other relationships are the result of years of consistent interactions. Farmers are more likely to call when gleaning is almost a service: they have produce that they need to get out of the ground or off the trees, and Small Potatoes has the free labor to do so. If possible, it might be beneficial to have a staff member or volunteer who is part of the agricultural community. Small Potatoes’ original founder was an “insider” in one of the more concentrated agricultural regions in Whatcom County, and was well-informed about potential gleaning opportunities in that area. When farmers and homeowners call, Small Potatoes staff request a range of information from them (see attached form), including contact information, convenient times for the glean, the quantity and type of produce available, what specific equipment is required, and any special harvesting instructions. Sometimes donors ask about their own liability should an accident occur. Farmers are protected by the Emerson Good Samaritan Act, but Small Potatoes volunteers are also covered under the Bellingham Food Bank’s insurance. Your local volunteer center might also offer insurance coverage to registered volunteers.

Volunteer Recruitment Small Potatoes uses a number of different methods to recruit volunteers to supplement the pre-existing volunteer base. The internet offers a lot of possibilities for recruitment. Small Potatoes has a profile on and another at Both tools, especially VolunteerMatch, have led to new volunteers. Another beneficial online resource has been the webpage of the local volunteer center. Small Potatoes also started a Facebook fan page for the project in order to spread awareness, keep current volunteers updated, and attract new gleaners. Other volunteer recruitment methods included tabling at events such as the local university’s volunteer fair. College students tend to sign up for more than they can actually commit too, but the event gained Small Potatoes a few dedicated volunteers. A college service-learning class also proved to be a valuable resource during some of the larger farm gleans in the fall. Additionally, most of the press efforts listed above under donor recruitment have also included information for potential volunteers. Many people find Small Potatoes through friends or family, and some regular Bellingham Food Bank volunteers have started volunteering with Small Potatoes as well. Small Potatoes collects very basic information from volunteers: their name, e-mail, phone number, and address. This information is usually collected via e-mail. We provide gleaners with a handout of Gleaning Rules at the beginning of the season (see appendix). Most volunteer training is conducted on site at the start of the glean. For example, at an apple orchard, volunteers are shown how to pick an apple without breaking off the spur, and reminded not to pick up fruit from the ground for food safety reasons. Volunteers also sign in on a data collection sheet at the beginning of each glean and sign a photo release form the first time they participate (see appendix).

Harvesting In 2009, Small Potatoes did not schedule regular gleans at a particular farm. Instead, the volunteers were informed by e-mail each time a new glean was organized. Small Potatoes has collected a variety of equipment that is useful to carry on gleans: Banana boxes for harvesting most crops Empty onion and potato sacks for crops like corn, carrots and potatoes Canvas apple-harvesting bags for picking apples, pears and tree fruit (see photo opposite) Large plastic totes used by the food bank, for gleans of thousands of pounds Work gloves and boxes of disposable rubber gloves for volunteers Knives for harvesting crops like squash Clippers for gleaning grapes Tripod-style orchard ladders for home fruit gleans (6- and 8- foot ladders can reach a great deal of fruit; 10-foot ladders can be unwieldy, but are useful for taller trees) Binder with data sheets and pens for signing in volunteers and recording glean information Orange cone to mark the site of the glean First aid kit Hand wipes

Harvesting When volunteers fill a large number of banana boxes with a single crop, the total weight is calculated by weighing one or two boxes and then multiplying that weight average by the number of boxes. If there is a large tote full of produce or a pallet stacked with boxes, the load can be weighed with the large scale at the Bellingham Food Bank. A paper data collection form is used to track weights and the destinations of the produce, and then that data is entered into an Excel spreadsheet. Think carefully about which data you should track for your own personal knowledge or for grant writing, thank-you letters, receipts, and so on. Small Potatoes tracks donors, recipients, the type and quantity of the produce distributed, the number of volunteers present, and volunteer hours. We also record donor contact information for mail merges.

Logistics The logistics of arranging the glean, setting it up, and overseeing delivery and data entry fall to the AmeriCorps VISTA and the Project Coordinator. In the near future, some volunteers may carry out fruit gleans in their own neighborhoods. At many gleans volunteers help deliver the produce, although staff often make deliveries as well, due to the greater capacity of the hunger program vehicles. Small Potatoes is fortunate to have use of the Bellingham Food Bank’s trucks and van. A 15-passengersize cargo van is often used to transport produce, ladders and equipment, and a larger box truck allows staff to transport food on pallets or in totes. Bear in mind that totes and pallets generally cannot be unloaded without a forklift. Delivery can be time-consuming, especially when there is a glean that yields enough produce for all the hunger programs in the county. Fortunately, produce can often be temporarily stored at the Bellingham Food Bank and then picked up by other food banks. Since the Bellingham Food Bank serves as the county’s main distribution center, other hunger programs frequently come to Bellingham anyway to collect their share of commodities or other food deliveries. When smaller gleans occur (generally home gleans), the produce is usually shared among a few of the smaller shelters, meal programs, and other non-profits in the area. The produce from bigger gleans is usually delivered to the larger hunger programs, which have a greater storage capacity. Occasionally Small Potatoes’ gleaning capacity is limited by what the area hunger programs can accept in one week. Fortunately, this problem arises infrequently since there is a good deal of cold storage space at the Bellingham Food Bank. However, it can be frustrating that many small organizations can generally only accept a box or two of produce at once, because more time must be spent driving around unloading produce at various sites. Also, many recipient sites and hunger programs have limited hours and are not always open to accept fresh produce. A beginning gleaning project might consider starting with only one or two recipient sites until there is more capacity in place.

Communication When a donor calls to invite Small Potatoes to have their produce gleaned, a member of the staff generally scouts the site before scheduling a glean. The scouting process is important because with home gleans, the homeowner is not always aware of whether the fruit is ripe or worth picking. With farm gleans, it can be useful to see ahead of time the lay-out of the field and where to harvest. When a time for the glean has been arranged with the donor, Small Potatoes staff send an e-mail to the volunteers with the pertinent information: time, date, location, type of crop, any special clothes or equipment needed, any driving or parking directions, and the number of volunteers needed. The e-mail asks volunteers to reply if they are able to participate. Once the necessary number of volunteers has responded, another e-mail is sent to the volunteer list announcing that the glean is full. There are also a few people without the internet who receive phone calls.

Wrap - Up There are a number of other elements involved in running the Small Potatoes, like donor and volunteer recognition. Donors are thanked soon after the glean with a thank-you card and sent a receipt at the end of the year totaling their donations. An end-of-season potluck is held as a celebration for the volunteers. A raffle at the potluck proved popular, and Small Potatoes t-shirts might be a volunteer gift for next season. There is a variety of data that requires upkeep, such as the spreadsheet where each glean is tracked. A survey is also sent to volunteers in the off-season to evaluate their experience with Small Potatoes. Each week, the volunteers are kept apprised of the week’s accomplishments via an e-mail that tallies the amount of food gleaned and the number of participating volunteers (see appendix). Much of Small Potatoes’ funding comes from the Bellingham Food Bank’s annual budget, but staff will also solicit funds from sources such as the Rotary Club. At this point, it seems most realistic to seek primarily local funding.

Five Essential Points of Advice 1. Make sure you have an effective method of collecting data from your gleaning events. 2. Look for sources of funding or in-kind donations early: you will haver more expenses than you think. 3. Find a person to lead your project who has time available, and be aware that unpaid labor can lead to burn-out. 4. Think about how much processing your produce will require harvesting. 5. Look for gleaning opportunities in many forms, such as farmers markets, homes, and farms.

Contact Information For more information, please contact Small Potatoes at the Bellingham Food Bank: 360 676 0392

History of the Community Fruit Tree Harvest Lettuce Link was established in 1988 as a program of Solid Ground (formerly the Fremont Public Association) in Seattle, Washington. One of twenty-eight Solid Ground programs, Lettuce Link follows Solid Ground’s mission “Building Community to End Poverty” by engaging Seattle volunteers in sharing fresh organic produce, vegetable seeds and gardening information with their neighbors who are living on limited incomes. Lettuce Link also works to increase awareness and educate the community around food security and sustainable food production. Lettuce Link is committed to increasing access to fresh produce and to teaching people how to grow their own food. A variety of projects come together to accomplish these goals. The Community Fruit Tree Harvest will be the focus of this chapter, but Lettuce Link also grows and donates produce, teaches gardening at two urban farms, supports P-Patch gardeners in growing produce for hunger programs (see P-Patch Giving Gardens chapter for more information). Lettuce Link also distributes seeds and gardening information to hunger program clients in Seattle.

By Sadie Beauregard

Community Fruit Tree Harvest Each season, Lettuce Link engages volunteers across Seattle to harvest and donate thousands of pounds of unwanted fruit from residential fruit trees. The Community Fruit Tree Harvest began as a neighborhood project harvesting 500 pounds of fruit in 2005. Since then it has expanded to a city-wide gleaning project with neighborhood-centered harvests across the city. In 2009, volunteers harvested and donated over 19,600 pounds of fruit from residential fruit trees. This fruit was donated to over 45 hunger programs and shelters in Seattle.

Host Site Name: Lettuce Link, a program of Solid Ground City/Area: Seattle, WA Characteristics:

Organization t non-profit

Agriculture size t residential

Primary agriculture crops: t tree fruit (100%)

Type of region t urban

Years running a gleaning program t 2-5 years

Number of recipient agencies t more than 8 agencies

Lettuce Link has also published a step-by-step guide to starting an urban fruit harvest: GATHER IT! How to Organize an Urban Fruit Harvest. The guide is a prime resource for any group looking to start their own harvest. For more information on ordering and accessing this free guide, please see the end of this chapter. This chapter will focus primarily on Lettuce Link’s gleaning efforts and organic produce donations through the Community Fruit Tree Harvest. As a program of a large, established non-profit agency, Lettuce Link receives significant organizational support in technical assistance, accounting, and communications.

The Gleaning Model Fruit trees abound in Seattle. Although they delight the casual passerby, they can be a nuisance for homeowners. Homeowners often inherit a tree and are not thrilled with the prospect of fruit tree care. Also, many fruit trees produce more fruit than one family can consume. As a result, thousands of pounds of fruit fall on the ground and go to waste each year. The Community Fruit Tree Harvest engages volunteers in harvesting and donating fruit that would otherwise go to waste. Fruit is a valuable community resource – local, fresh and full of nutrients. Harvesting fruit and delivering it to those who can use it is a win for homeowners, volunteers, and hunger program clients alike. The Community Fruit Tree Harvest revolves around neighborhood harvests with central coordinators housed at Lettuce Link. Although interest from fruit tree donors outside of the Seattle area continues to expand, Lettuce Link’s Community Fruit Tree Harvest remains a Seattle based project. In 2009, the Fruit Harvest focused on seven neighborhoods – Ballard, Central Seattle, Northeast Seattle, Queen Anne/Magnolia, Southeast Seattle, South Park, and Wallingford. Each neighborhood functions slightly differently based on the volunteers and dynamics of the neighborhood. Since 2008, several independent neighborhood harvests have spawned from Lettuce Link’s Community Fruit Tree Harvest including: the Community Harvest of Southwest Seattle (, City Fruit’s Phinney Sustainable Fruit Harvest (, and the Colman Neighborhood Association Fruit Harvest. Lettuce Link hopes to continue supporting neighborhood groups as they take on more responsibility for neighborhood harvests.

Donor Recruitment Fruit donors abound throughout Seattle and most likely throughout any city with a climate for growing. Fruit trees are especially prevalent in the city, growing along the sidewalk and sprawling out from backyard fences. As long as there are volunteers to harvest the produce, donors are not difficult to find. In 2005, the Community Fruit Tree Harvest began with volunteers walking through their neighborhoods keeping an eye out for fruit trees. When a volunteer spotted a tree on the sidewalk or in a yard, they left a ‘Donor Postcard’ on the doorstep (see appendix). This quarter-sheet flier has a brief explanation of the program as well as contact information for registering a fruit tree. Flyering builds awareness about an urban fruit harvest and engages volunteers early in the harvest season. At the beginning of each harvest season, Lettuce Link encourages volunteers to flyer in their neighborhoods. While distributing fliers, volunteers began to notice blocks or areas of neighborhoods that seemed particularly ripe with fruit trees. In Seattle, some neighborhoods were once sites for productive fruit orchards. Researching and documenting these patterns in other communities can help coordinators and volunteers target potential donors. The Community Fruit Tree Harvest also reaches out to potential donors through neighborhood blogs, coffee shop fliers, gardening listservs, public radio and city newspapers. A front page article in the Seattle Times in 2009– featuring Lettuce Link’s partner City Fruit – caused an influx of requests for volunteers to harvest trees and built excitement about the Community Fruit Tree Harvest. Lettuce Link partners with Seattle Tilth’s Garden Hotline for tree donor intake. This partnership increases the capacity of the Community Fruit Tree Harvest to process fruit trees and screen out those that are not appropriate for harvest (i.e. too tall, not enough fruit, inaccessible, too far). Potential donors call Seattle Tilth’s Garden Hotline where the operator takes their information through a brief survey: Name, address, e-mail, phone number What kind of tree(s) do you have? Did you spray the tree? How tall is the tree? Do you have a fruit tree ladder? (If so how tall?) Is the tree infested? (if so, with what?)

Did you eat the fruit last year? When will the fruit be ripe? How much fruit does it produce? Accessibility. (Flat or hilly? Locked gate? Pets? Any other barriers to picking?) Are you able to help us pick the fruit?

The Garden Hotline sends the completed survey form to Lettuce Link where the fruit harvest coordinator contacts the owner to schedule a harvest. If volunteers are not able to harvest a tree, the coordinator contacts the homeowner, encourages them to bring together neighbors to harvest their tree and sends them Lettuce Link’s “Where to Donate” sheet (see appendix) with information on locations that accept produce donations in Seattle. Lettuce Link developed and annually updates this list of locations that accept fresh produce by contacting and interviewing emergency food providers in Seattle. A “Where to Donate” sheet is a useful resource for demonstrating the extent of programs that accept fresh produce and it also assists donors in finding convenient locations to drop-off their excess fruit.

Volunteer Recruitment With a renewed interest in urban gardening, local food and fresh produce, prospective volunteers are increasingly interested in gleaning projects. Nevertheless, any project requires a large base of dedicated volunteers and consistent volunteer management. As with most projects, volunteers become disengaged when there’s not enough to do or when activities are unclear. Many volunteers also drop out of a project if too much is asked of them. Volunteer management requires dedication and good communication. Much like tree donor recruitment, Lettuce Link reaches out to volunteers through social media sites (Solid Ground’s Twitter and Facebook pages), neighborhood blogs and listservs, web-based volunteer sites (e.g. the United Way of King County), coffee shop fliers and print media. Many volunteers also come through word of mouth. Neighborhood sustainability groups (such as Seattle’s SCALLOPS groups), environmental and local food organizations are sources of potential volunteers. All fruit harvest volunteers must complete and submit a Lettuce Link Fruit Harvest Volunteer Application (see appendix) which collects contact information and interest from potential volunte, volunteers may sign a waiver. Several useful questions that Lettuce Link’s application asks include: Do you have a car? Can you carry a ladder in your car? Which neighborhoods interest you for harvesting? At the beginning of the Seattle fruit harvest season (July through early August), Lettuce Link conducts a series of volunteer orientations. These orientations take place in seven to ten neighborhoods throughout Seattle, at various times of the day and evening. At the volunteer orientations, the Harvest Coordinator reviews expectations for the fruit harvest, goes over how to pick tree fruit and answers questions. Orientations are a great chance to meet fruit harvest volunteers and share ideas for the season. Many volunteers are enthusiastic when they first sign up and that enthusiasm may wane if it is not clear to them when the season will be at its busiest. Although Lettuce Link conducts volunteer orientations in July, the busiest harvest time is in August and September.

Communication Lettuce Link primarily communicates with fruit harvest volunteers through e-mail. With a combination of unscheduled harvests (where volunteers set up a time to harvest directly with the homeowner) and scheduled harvest events, volunteers receive updates on upcoming fruit harvest possibilities via e-mail. Harvest information is sent to lists of volunteers by neighborhood and volunteers reply to the Harvest Coordinator with their availability.

Harvesting Fruit harvesting begins in July and continues through early October. The majority of the harvests occur in August and September. Harvests take place in front and back yards and occasionally in public parks and at businesses. Lettuce Link uses a combination of as-needed harvesting and scheduled harvest dates. For scheduled harvests, volunteers meet at a predetermined location/date/time; for as needed harvests, volunteers receive the location of the tree and the donor’s contact information then schedule their own harvest date based on when the tree is ripe.

Harvesting Continued During volunteer orientations, volunteers learn techniques for picking tree fruit. All volunteers also receive a ‘Fruit Tree Picking Tips’ sheet (see appendix) at their volunteer orientation. The Community Fruit Tree Harvest accepts plums, pears, Asian pears and apples from un-sprayed trees. These fruits grow best in Seattle and are easiest for hunger programs to process and distribute. Cherries, figs, grapes, kiwis and peaches are also donated, though hunger programs have less capacity for distributing them. Fruits like these that are less familiar to hunger programs are more appropriate for hot meal programs, shelters and community centers. Lettuce Link is committed to increasing access to produce that has not been treated with pesticides. For this reason, the Community Fruit Tree Harvest does not accept fruit from trees that have been sprayed. Likewise, the Community Fruit Tree Harvest does not accept infested fruit (e.g. coddling moth, worms, scab etc.). However, wormy apples are donated to community groups for cider pressing. Schools and community groups often have cider pressing events in the fall. Lettuce Link keeps a list of organizations interested in wormy apples as these organizations are often willing to harvest wormy apples themselves. Standard fruit harvest equipment includes: 8-foot orchard ladder Fruit picking tools with extensions Simple first aid kit Cardboard boxes Picking bags (e.g. canvas grocery bags, old backpacks, etc.) Scale to weigh fruit Orchard ladders and fruit picking tools can be purchased at most hardware stores or solicited for donation. The produce section of grocery stores is a good source for cardboard boxes Boxes should be shallow – if fruit is packed too high it tends to get squished (especially soft fruit like plums)

Logistics Community Fruit Tree Harvest volunteers donate fruit to a variety of Seattle hunger programs, meals programs, shelters, and community organizations. Lettuce Link staff and volunteers interview program managers to determine their capacity for fresh produce donations (see appendix “Interview Questions for Produce Donation Recipients”). These interviews have resulted in Lettuce Link’s “Where to Donate” sheet of Seattle area food providers. This sheet includes drop- off times, desired produce and other details specific to each location. Since donations from urban gleaning projects range from 5 to 500 pounds (relatively small compared to gleaning at commercial farms), hunger programs are generally able to accept all produce donations. Lettuce Link also encourages volunteers to deliver produce close to distribution times so that hunger programs do not have to house produce in their limited storage facilities. For fruit tree harvests, this means that volunteers need to plan harvests in conjunction with distribution. It’s wise to call a location before bringing produce to ensure that the donation can be processed at that time. Be sure that produce is washed, not too soft, and without infestations or large bruises.

Logistics Continued Lettuce Link’s Harvest Coordinator coordinates the logistics of each fruit tree harvest. This includes: communicating with volunteers, setting up harvests with donors, scouting trees, coordinating harvest events (including logistics of equipment transport, volunteer coordination, and donation drop-off ), fielding questions and troubleshooting, maintaining databases of fruit donors and donor information (pounds donated and where donated), tracking volunteer hours and thanking donors and volunteers. All information is tracked in Excel spreadsheets. The majority of volunteers use personal vehicles to deliver equipment to harvest sites. There are several challenges associated with this: volunteers are not comfortable or able to carry tall orchard ladders; many volunteers do not drive; and during the busy harvest season it can be a challenge to coordinate equipment deliveries. One way Lettuce Link began addressing the tall ladder challenge was to purchase smaller ladders (four feet high). Though these ladders do not reach the tops of the fruit trees, they do enable volunteers with smaller cars to participate.

Wrap Up During the season, volunteers leave a “Thank You” note (see attached) on the doorstep after a harvest event. The fruit harvest coordinator also sends the donor an e-mail to thank them for donating, to tell them how much fruit was picked and where it was donated. At the end of the season, Lettuce Link thanks donors by sending a letter telling donors how the season went and thanking them for their contribution. Lettuce Link also hosts volunteer appreciation potlucks for fruit harvest volunteers and sends volunteers thank you notes for their hard work over the season.

GATHER IT! How to Organize an Urban Fruit Harvest Solid Ground’s GATHER IT! How to Organize an Urban Fruit Harvest guide is a fantastic resource for establishing and running an urban fruit tree harvest. Written by Lettuce Link’s former fruit harvest coordinator, this guide incorporates suggestions for starting your own urban fruit harvest, as well as resources from other fruit tree gleaning projects in the United States and Canada. GATHER IT! is available for download at Lettuce Link’s CFTH website ( If you would like to request a free, full-color hard copy, please contact the Lettuce Link program at Solid Ground (a small donation to cover shipping costs is enthusiastically accepted!).

Contact Information Lettuce Link, Solid Ground 1501 N 45th St Seattle, WA 98103 206-694-6754

History of the P-Patch Giving Gardens

By Sadie Beauregard

Lettuce Link was established in 1988 as a program of Solid Ground (formerly the Fremont Public Association) in Seattle, Washington. One of twenty-eight Solid Ground programs, Lettuce Link follows Solid Ground’s mission “Building Community to End Poverty” by engaging Seattle volunteers in sharing fresh organic produce, vegetable seeds, and gardening information with their neighbors who are living on limited incomes. Lettuce Link also works to increase awareness and educate the community around food security and sustainable food production. Lettuce Link is committed to increasing access to fresh produce and also to teaching people how to grow their own food. A variety of projects come together to accomplish these goals. The P-Patch Giving Gardens will be the focus of this chapter, but Lettuce Link also grows and donates produce, organizes an urban fruit harvest (see Community Fruit Tree Harvest chapter for more information), teaches gardening at two urban farms, and distributes seeds and gardening information to hunger program clients in Seattle.

P-Patch Giving Gardens. Seattle’s Department of Neighborhoods P-Patch Program works in conjunction with the non-profit P-Patch Trust to provide garden space for residents of 44 Seattle neighborhoods. Lettuce Link coordinates with over 30 P-Patch gardens, mobilizing and supporting P-Patch gardeners to plant an extra row or extra garden bed of produce for hunger programs and hot meals sites. Each season, P-Patch gardeners donate over 25,000 pounds of produce to Seattle service providers. Giving Gardens And Experiential Learning. Marra Farm boasts 8 acres of historical farmland in Seattle’s South Park neighborhood with 4.5 acres currently under agricultural production. At the only current urban farm in Seattle, Lettuce Link engages people in sustainable agriculture and education while enhancing local food security. Each season, Lettuce Link grows and donates over 16,000 pounds of organic produce in a three-quarter acre giving garden plot. Over 1400 volunteers from around Seattle help Lettuce Link grow fresh, organic produce in the Giving Garden. Lettuce Link engages school children by offering tours and ten week gardening and nutrition education programs. A second urban farm – part of the Seattle Good Food and Community Farm Project – is currently in the early stages of outreach and development. For more information on these projects, please see: Seed and Start Distribution. Lettuce Link promotes self sufficiency by distributing free seeds, plant starts, and gardening information to over 2000 people at 18 different sites across Seattle. These services are especially used by recent immigrants and hunger program clients.

The Gleaning Model Gardeners are a valuable community resource, and Seattle is blessed with a network of city-funded gardens through the P-Patch Program. Each season, Lettuce Link works with over 30 P-Patch gardens to grow extra produce for Seattle hunger programs. Many gardens have a plot designated to hunger program gardening. Lettuce Link fondly refers to these plots as “Giving Gardens”. In 2009, P-Patch gardeners donated over 27,400 pounds of produce to Seattle food banks, shelters, and meals programs. Lettuce Link supports Seattle P-Patch gardeners with one-on-one help for setting up a Giving Garden and with systems for engaging volunteers. The program also provides seeds and plant starts, connects gardens to service providers, and tracks donations from year to year. Donations vary by garden, and Giving Gardens often require different growing models than personal gardens, such as planting one or two main crops and harvesting them all at once. Lettuce Link shares the ‘Giving Garden Tips’ sheet (see appendix) for P-Patch gardeners to learn about these models and provides suggestions for which types of vegetables to grow in Giving Gardens: Plant an extra row or more. The more you plant to give away, the more you can help. Plant just one or two extra crops. This will result in a larger harvest of fewer items, which is better for hunger programs. Hunger programs love most fruits and veggies! These are easy to grow: beets, carrots, collard greens, green onions, herbs, (dill, basil, rosemary, etc.) beans, peas, cucumbers, squash, pak choi, chard, radishes, and lettuce Harvest, wash and deliver to a local hunger programs in your neighborhood Lettuce Link provides gardeners with culturally appropriate seeds and plant starts. Appropriate produce for hunger programs depends on the clientele and may vary from one place to another. For example, in Seattle, the Russian population often enjoys beets and dill, cilantro is popular among Latino clients, and Chinese clients frequently request bok choy. Some P-Patch gardeners also volunteer to share recipes with food bank clients as garden grown produce is sometimes unfamiliar to clients (i.e. kale, chard).

Donor Recruitment Backyards, container gardens, and parking strips crawl with carefully tended roots, greens, and other vegetables. Gardeners are eager to donate extra vegetables when given the outlet to do so. Lettuce Link collaborates with the P-Patch program to promote Giving Gardens and works to form sustainable relationships with P-Patch gardeners. Lettuce Link reaches out to P-Patch gardeners through the city P-Patch listserv, the P-Patch Trust and Department of Neighborhoods, word of mouth, tabling at gardening-related events, and by attending P-Patch meetings and events. Individual P-Patches also conduct their own outreach by posting signs in the garden and encouraging fellow gardens to participate in donating to hunger programs. Giving Gardens include: Plots devoted to hunger program gardening Rows in individual plots Produce drop off by individual gardeners An end of season gleaning event for the entire P-Patch

Donor Recruitment Continued P-Patch gardeners grow extra produce for the hunger program and may also glean from their own plots. A gardener from each P-Patch serves as the Giving Garden Coordinator and is the primary contact and organizer for their P-Patch’s Giving Garden. At the beginning of the season, Lettuce Link meets with Giving Garden Coordinators and provides them with seeds, plant starts, and materials for donation documentation. If needed, Lettuce Link also provides a scale for weighing donations. Throughout the season, Lettuce Link checks in with Coordinators, tracks produce donations, and communicates with emergency food providers to determine produce preferences and preferred drop-off times. At the end of the season, Lettuce Link collects poundage from each P-Patch and tracks participation. Lettuce Link provides signage to mark Giving Garden plots, invite other gardeners to donate their produce, and inform gardeners of appropriate donations. Lettuce Link also provides gardeners and hunger programs with half-sheet signs with names of commonly donated produce and brief explanations of how to prepare them. These signs can be taped on produce boxes at the food bank and distributed to clients. Signs are available in Chinese, English, Khmer, Lao, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese

Volunteer Recruitment Giving Garden Coordinators conduct their own volunteer recruitment. Many P-Patches recruit volunteers within the garden, although several have formed partnerships with community members. For example, the Interbay P-Patch invites local high school students to work in the hunger program plot in order to complete community service hours. There are long wait lists for Seattle P-Patch plots. For those on wait lists, Giving Garden volunteer work can be a way to get involved in the P-Patch program. Other volunteers assist Lettuce Link by growing starts for hunger program gardeners. Volunteers grow starts at residential greenhouses and coordinate with Lettuce Link staff to determine which starts to grow and which P-Patches need them.

Communication Lettuce Link staff communicates with P-Patch gardeners through e-mail, phone, and by attending P-Patch meetings and work parties. Throughout the season, Lettuce Link staff checks in with Coordinators and keeps a log of P-Patch details to ensure continuity through the years.

Harvesting Harvesting depends on the P-Patch and the structure of the garden. Some gardens have regular work parties to harvest produce for the hunger program and others encourage gardeners to drop-off produce throughout the week in a shed. Several gardens have end-of-season work parties where all left over produce is picked and donated. All participating gardens have volunteer drivers and regular donation days, for example a driver at the Picardo P-Patch takes all the harvested produce that gardeners have placed in the shed to a loca hunger program every Saturday morning, June through October. Lettuce Link helps coordinate driver schedules to facilitate hunger program drop-offs and donations at two of the largest gardens. Participating gardens have scales and clipboards in their sheds to weigh and track produce donations. Bins or bags are also available for gardeners to store donated produce and to transport produce to the hunger program.

Wrap Up Lettuce Link collects donation data from Seattle P-Patches and backyard gardeners and tracks the data from year to year. Each season, Lettuce Link produces charts celebrating the amount of produce that was donated that season and encouraging gardeners to donate next year. The program also uses these charts to display the success of the P-Patch Giving Garden program and to visually recognize the extent of people and sites that participate in growing and giving.

Contact Information Lettuce Link, Solid Ground 1501 N 45th St Seattle, WA 98103 206-694-6754

History of the TCFB Gleaning Program Thurston County Food Bank (TCFB) is located in Olympia, Washington. The organization was established by volunteers in 1965, and has continued to grow since that time. TCFB has 300 volunteers, with about 30 working in the food bank each day the building is open to clients. In 2008, TCFB served 37,000 clients.

By Heather Davis

Over time, the staff at TCFB began seeing longer and longer client lines appearing at the front of the building each service day before open hours. Clients expressed that the reason they chose to line up so early was so they could have a good pick of all the food items being distributed. Beginning in 2007, TCFB began taking client surveys every two years. The surveys included detailed questions about client satisfaction in each nutritional area (protein, dairy, non-perishables, bread/pastry, and produce). The goals of conducting the survey were to improve client satisfaction in general, make food bank services more accessible, and lessen the need to line up early. When the survey results were compiled, the staff at TCFB learned that one of the clients’ greatest wishes was for a wider variety and larger amount of fresh produce. TCFB launched a number of projects to improve its produce area, including various types of partnerships with local farms and a winter community supported agriculture (CSA) program. To further improve the amount and diversity of produce available to its clients, the staff at TCFB decided to launch a gleaning program.

The TCFB Gleaning Model TCFB took on one Americorps*VISTA to coordinate the gleaning effort. The major goals of the TCFB gleaning program are as follows: Build strong, lasting relationships with local growers Supplement TCFB’s produce offerings to improve client satisfaction Create a sustainable gleaning program Recruit a number of lead volunteers who have connections to volunteer pools (through work, church, recreational clubs, and so on) who can lead gleaning excursions and carry out the gleaning program as a mostly volunteer-run operation, with one TCFB staff member acting part-time as a main coordinator in the long term The TCFB gleaning program focuses on bringing in fruits and vegetables that are familiar and desirable to our clients, and providing a greater variety of produce to choose from. This entails gleaning both row crops and tree fruit. Previous to the gleaning program, TCFB already had a routine for picking up surplus produce from markets, restaurants, and so on. Because of this, the gleaning program mainly focuses on bringing in produce that has been left behind in growers’ fields and orchards within Thurston County. Selecting Crops to Glean When choosing which crops to glean, the TCFB gleaning coordinator took a number of factors into consideration: Is the crop familiar to most people? Is the crop of sufficient quality (for example, not damaged, rotten, too large, or too small)? The crops that are most popular with clients at TCFB are as follows: Carrots Green beans Cabbages Lettuce Broccoli Onions

Cucumbers Bell peppers Tomatoes Winter squash Garlic

Cauliflower Corn Berries Apples Potatoes

Donor Recruitment The gleaning coordinator began grower outreach by building a list of contact information for vegetable farms in the Olympia area. Next, she sent letters to each farm with information about TCFB and the gleaning program. She followed up the letters with telephone calls to inquire about grower interest and make appointments to visit interested farms. As a result of those letters and phone calls, the coordinator established only one or two donors. The letters turned out to be a good way to determine which farmers were the most enthusiastic about gleaning and willing to make an effort to contact the food bank to follow up. However, the letters were not a good way of engaging most farmers who are already extremely busy and possibly unfamiliar with gleaning. A more effective way of getting donors would be to keep your interactions face-to-face as much as possible, and put your organization’s existing agricultural relationships to use. Try visiting farmers at their market stands and ask when the owner or manager will be there, so you can speak to them in person. If you can, bring someone from your organization who has existing relationships with local farmers – a familiar face will make a lot of difference. Rather than telling the farmer you will call them, or asking them to call you, try to make an appointment on the spot to visit the farm. Get things moving with as few in-between steps as possible. The gleaning coordinator found that many growers came to the program throughout the season because they called TCFB as they began to see a surplus, and asked if gleaning services were available. If you are working from an organization that is well established in your community, you may find that a number of growers (particularly homeowners with fruit trees) will become donors without your having to do any initial work to recruit them. After its first season, the TCFB gleaning program’s donors range in distance from two miles away from the food bank, to 35 miles from the food bank. The breakdown of donor types is as follows: 4 small scale commercial growers (3 certified organic, 1 non-certified organic) 1 university educational farm (certified organic) 1 elementary school garden (non-certified organic) 10 residential growers (fruit trees or home gardens)

Making a First Visit to a Gleaning Site The TCFB gleaning coordinator found that scoping out each gleaning site is essential before bringing volunteers there. Making an initial visit allows you to get comfortable with the driving directions, have a chance to chat with the grower and address questions and concerns, assess the crops to determine their quality, and determine how many volunteers you will need. Helpful questions to ask the grower include: What is your harvesting schedule? Do you prefer that staff people from your farm be present while gleaning takes place? Are there irrigation pipes or other equipment that gleaners should be careful around? Areas that should be off limits to gleaners? What equipment is available for gleaners to use (pitchforks, wheelbarrows, fruit pickers, ladders, wash station, and so on)? Will you want a receipt for your donations?

Volunteer Recruitment Volunteer outreach and retention proved to be the most challenging aspect of the TCFB gleaning program. The coordinator conducted general outreach through fliers and Internet classifieds. She also tabled and made announcements at community events involving agriculture or volunteering. Additionally, she met with the staff at the local volunteer center and university service learning center about having the gleaning program posted in their listings. As a result of these efforts, many potential volunteers expressed interest, mainly by e-mail. The gleaning coordinator received about 8-9 inquiries about the gleaning program each month. Approximately half of these people completed the application and orientation process and attended at least one gleaning event. About one quarter became frequent participants.

Volunteer Intake When a potential gleaner expressed interest in the program, the coordinator asked him/her to drop by the food bank for an informal interview and orientation, and to fill out intake paperwork. The intake paperwork consisted of the volunteer’s contact information, emergency information, and availability. The coordinator also asked volunteers to read and sign the TCFB’s volunteer policy and procedure paperwork, which mainly covers safety issues and client confidentiality.

Volunteer Training At orientation, the gleaning coordinator showed the gleaners around the TCFB building, and discussed logistics such as parking and where to enter the building. She also explained the equipment that the gleaners would need to be familiar with, and showed them where to find it. Helpful tools to show the gleaners at orientation include: Produce crates Hand trucks and rolling carts Food scales Hoses, buckets, and other produce washing equipment Refrigerators The coordinator also discussed how gleaners should conduct themselves on a farm (showing respect for the property and the crops). She created a handout containing all the essential points from the orientation, and gave each volunteer a copy to take home.

Volunteer Management – Lessons Learned Through the TCFB gleaning program’s first season, the coordinator learned a number of ways to improve volunteer outreach and retention. When you receive an inquiry from a person who wants to volunteer, try to set an appointment with them for an orientation in the same encounter. Try to eliminate the need for them to contact you again at a later date to get started volunteering. Don’t send them away with paperwork to fill out and bring back to you; have them fill it out at orientation and turn it in the same day. Schedule your gleaning events to take place soon after the orientation. Make scheduling their first gleaning date a part of the orientation. In general, make sure to keep the process moving so you don’t lose the potential volunteer’s interest.

Volunteer Management – Lessons Learned Continued When recruiting donors and volunteers, make sure to keep the appropriate balance between the number of gleaners you have and the amount of work available. Rather than beginning your program by trying to get as many growers on board as possible, see if you can make partnerships with two or three dependable growers, while you work on bulking up your volunteer numbers. As you gain volunteers, work on conducting further grower outreach. Also, keep in mind that as the season goes on and crops become ready to harvest, you’ll be contacted by many growers unexpectedly. It’s important to keep a balance, so as not to disappoint your volunteers and donors with either a lack of work to do, or lack of people to complete the work. When recruiting for volunteers, keep in mind that you don’t necessarily have to do outreach through existing recruiters or at agriculture-related events. You can canvass at any public area with a lot of foot traffic. Carry a clipboard so you can build an interest list and do callbacks later. The more people you talk to, the more volunteers you will recruit.

Communication Once the gleaning coordinator had donors and volunteers in place, she scheduled gleaning events as surplus crops became available. She scheduled regular gleaning events with donors who had consistent surpluses, but the majority of events were spontaneous. She kept her gleaners informed of events by sending them an e-mail containing a schedule at the beginning of each week. Gleaners who wanted to attend sent an RSVP by e-mail. The coordinator asked volunteers to specify whether they would be meeting her at TCFB or driving their own vehicles to the gleaning site, so she could anticipate who to expect (and where to expect them).

Harvesting Once at the farm for a gleaning event, the coordinator gave a quick harvesting demo to any new gleaners, letting them know the best way to harvest and trim the crop. For example, cutting the tops off beets and carrots gives them a much longer shelf life, and doing this sort of processing as you harvest is much easier than doing it later. For each gleaning event, it is helpful to have the following equipment: Waterproof work gloves in multiple sizes 5 gallon plastic buckets with handles (picking containers) Produce crates or boxes Produce knives Sunblock First aid kit Water Snacks Pairs of rain boots to lend out Rain jackets to lend out Stepladders and step stools (for tree fruit or trellised fruit) Fruit pickers (poles with baskets on the end for retrieving fruit that is out of reach) Once the group arrived back at TCFB, they helped for an additional 15-45 minutes to wrap up the event with weigh-ins and recording of the donation, spraying down the produce, and getting it into the cooler. A typical gleaning event lasted 4-5 hours, including wrap-up.

Logistics Weigh-Ins TCFB is equipped with a mechanical scale in its receiving area. After each gleaning event, the gleaners assisted the coordinator with stacking crates of gleaned produce on the scale and writing down the results for each different type of produce. They tracked how many produce crates were weighed, so they coordinator could subtract the weight of the crates when recording the data electronically. Storage TCFB has a large walk-in cooler where produce, dairy, and bread products are stored. Half of the cooler is designated for produce. The gleaning coordinator organized gleaned produce with existing produce on pallets in the cooler, taking care to rotate older produce to the front or leave notes informing produce volunteers about which crates to distribute to clients first.

Transportation The gleaning coordinator transported herself, the gleaners, a pallet of produce crates, and all other equipment in a donated 12 passenger van. The TCFB gleaning van was donated by Intercity Transit (IT), the main public transportation organization in Thurston County. Each year, IT retires a number of its van pool vehicles and donates them to non-profits that have completed an application. TCFB applied for a van specifically for the gleaning program, to make it possible to transport both gleaned produce and volunteers in the same vehicle.

Wrap-up Volunteer Appreciation The gleaning coordinator sent out e-mails after particularly successful gleaning events, giving gleaned produce poundages and thanking volunteers. At the end of the growing season, she sent out hand-written thank you cards to all repeat volunteers, thanking them for their hard work. In the future, as the number of participating gleaners grows, the coordinator hopes that TCFB will hold formal gleaner appreciation events, such as meals or parties. Data Management The TCFB gleaning coordinator kept thorough records of all aspects of the gleaning program, including volunteers, donors/gleaning sites, and produce weights. • Volunteer spreadsheet – A sheet for gleaners to record their names and the number of hours worked after each gleaning event. • Weigh-in sheets – Sheets for recording produce types and weights as volunteers weighed each event’s harvest, to be totaled and entered in the gleaning log. • Gleaning log – An electronic spreadsheet containing produce types, weights, donor, and date for each gleaning event. • Gleaning site profiles – Profiles containing contact information, driving directions, and crop information for each donor. The coordinator kept extra copies for each site, to give to volunteers who wanted to drive their own vehicles to the gleaning site. The coordinator kept all of this information in a binder. Having all of the essential documentation in one place was extremely helpful – the coordinator was able to quickly grab the binder and take it with her to a gleaning. She also kept extra copies of the volunteer application and orientation handout in the binder, in case new volunteers unexpectedly showed up to events.

Five Essential Points of Advice Starting a New Gleaning Program 1. Take a volunteer management class, at least a full day in length, before you start putting your program together. 2. Eliminate as many in-between steps to getting your donors and volunteers in place as possible. From the moment they express interest, keep the ball rolling until they are engaged and committed. 3. Use existing relationships to your advantage. If you don’t know farmers yourself, take someone with you who does when you scout for donors. If you have personal friends who like gardening and agriculture, get them to come glean with you. 4. Research the crops you’ll be working with before you start gleaning. Don’t be caught uncertain whether or not to harvest something. For example: can kale be harvested after a freeze? Can plums be picked while they are under ripe? Is it OK to harvest green potatoes? Knowing these things ahead of time will make a huge difference in how productive your gleaning events are. 5. Schedule as many gleaning events on the weekends as you can. This is the best way to keep families and working people engaged in your project. Schedule the project to begin mid-morning, so your volunteers don’t have to choose between sleeping in and participating.

Contact Information For more information, please contact: Produce Manager Thurston County Food Bank 360 352 8597

Improving Transportation and Storage Capacity Editor’s Note This chapter is different from the proceeding ones. The previous seven chapters are written through the eyes of gleaning organizations, focusing on the struggles and successes of their models. This chapter is not about a specific gleaning program, rather it addresses big picture issues that gleaners face, namely transporting, storing and distributing perishable foods in a timely and efficient manner. Although it is a different format it will hopefully provide recommendations on moving gleaned produce from the field to clients in need. Overview Gleaning is a great way to increase fresh fruits and vegetables available within the hunger-relief system. However, gleaning produce from farms and orchards is only part of the process. Before hunger program clients can receive the gleaned produce, it must be transported to hunger programs and stored until it can be distributed. This chapter of the Gleaning Resource Guide suggests ways to find transportation and cold storage to support your gleaning project.

By Benjamin Rasmus

After a gleaning event, produce is typcially delivered in one of two ways: Straight from the farm to a hunger program (this is the most common scenario) From the farm to a distribution center, then to partner hunger programs (this is typical when a very large glean has taken place) Once the food has reached a distribution center or hunger program, storage capacity becomes the next challenge. Gleaning projects, distribution centers, and hunger programs must cooperate to ensure each agency housing the gleaned food has sufficient cold storage space. This is especially important for gleaned food because it often enters the hungerrelief system close to expiration. The diagram on the following page illustrates the significance of adequate transportation and storage within the gleaning model.









Below are five ways to improve transportation and storage capacity for your gleaning project. These suggestions all focus on improving capacity without increasing your budget.

1. Partner With Transportation Associations Large-scale gleaning programs that harvest thousands of pounds of produce in a single event should consider building partnerships with organizations that provide donated transportation. Umbrella organizations that work with a number of transport companies, like state trucking associations, could be great transport partners for gleaning projects. Oftentimes a state’s Department of Transportation will link a trucking association’s website in the resources or partners section. RFH’s Partnership WIth the Washington Trucking Association RFH established a partnership with the Washington Trucking Association (WTA), which helps find donated transport through its member trucking companies. When truckers make pick-ups or deliveries the trailer is often traveling empty one leg of the trip. Gleaning projects are most likely to find trucking companies willing to donate transport on the “backhaul,” or return trip. RFH developed this partnership in three steps: 1. RFH held a meeting with the leaders of the WTA, who either previously supported hunger-relief efforts or expressed an interest to do so. 2. RFH conducted educational outreach to both the leaders and members of the WTA. RFH accomplished this by creating a flier that was shared at the WTA annual conference (see appendix). 3. RFH maintained consistent communication between the WTA, gleaning projects, and recipient hunger programs. To make communication easy for your transportation partner, make sure to use only one hunger-relief agency as a point of contact. Requests from too many agencies may make your transportation donor less likely to continue participation. If you would like to work with the WTA, please contact RFH directly, so they can make a request to WTA on your behalf.

2. Partner With Local Delivery Businesses Gleaners can seek out businesses that have good transportation systems to assist with hauling produce. Companies that have refrigerated vehicles, such as beverage distributors are ideal and a good starting point. Such distributors often have a variety of vehicle sizes and access to cold storage facilities. Businesses that are not agriculture-related may be able to offer cold storage space at peak harvest times, when many hunger programs don’t have room for storing surplus produce. Additionally, businesses that distribute alcoholic beverages might be more likely to support charitable causes for public relations purposes. When gleaned produce is traveling short distances, businesses with smaller, non-refrigerated vehicles could also be good options for partnerships. Consider the following types of businesses: Local flower shops that use delivery vans Moving companies that use large box trucks Home appliance delivery and repair vehicles

If your partners are interested in receiving positive publicity, you could consider making giant magnets to hang on the side of their vehicle. These magnets could say something like, “This truck is making a difference by hauling gleaned produce. Learn how you can help at (your gleaning organization’s website).” This visibility also has potential to attract new trucking donors.

3. Identify a Dedicated Vehicle If you are running a midsize gleaning project, you may benefit from the addition of a dedicated vehicle. You can apply for a grant to purchase or receive a new vehicle or find a company willing to donate a vehicle that has been retired from its commercial purpose. A single gleaning organization may not use a vehicle enough to justify the cost of ownership (especially with maintenance and insurance expenses). Smaller gleaning projects should consider sharing a vehicle with other hunger relief organizations. Gleaning outfits can explore applying independently or jointly for vehicle grants. Leveraging connections through hunger relief and food bank coalitions is recommended to find partners to apply for a shared vehicle. For example, statewide, regional and local hunger coalitions exist in Washington to encourage this sort of cooperation.3 Be creative when researching grants and funding opportunities for vehicles. Thurston County Food Bank’s gleaning program in Olympia received a donated twelve passenger van through their local transit authority that operates the city public transportation. Additionally, food banks that participate in federal feeding programs, like The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) are likely eligible to purchase vehicles at a discounted rate through your state’s General Service Administration.

4. Consider Integrative Transportation, Storage and Distribution Models If you are a distribution center or hunger program that handles large amounts of gleaned produce, you may want to explore ways to more effectively use your cold storage space. For instance, consider distributing produce the same day it was gleaned. If your gleaning project doesn’t have adequate cold storage space, you could also explore the possibility of using a tailgate distribution method. In this model, gleaning projects could arrange for a truckload of produce to be unloaded at a prearranged drop-site that is not necessarily a hunger program. Once the gleaned food is unloaded, clients self-select produce directly from the pallets. Members from the hunger-relief community coordinate and are present to make sure the produce is shared equitably.

This model could draw in many stakeholders, like gleaning projects, hunger programs, farms and commercial trucking. Additionally, gleaners can cooperate with other nonprofit organizations to distribute at locations that are not necessarily food banks, like schools, community centers or affordable housing developments. Engaging other local nonprofits to participate can encourage client turnout. Consider this approach if your gleaning operation has access to large amounts of produce, but lacks the capacity to store it. Tailgate distributing works best in areas with high pockets of poverty and minimal access to fresh produce. For more information about this model, visit:

5. Seek Support From The Business Community Consider collaborating with the business community through local service clubs, like Rotary, Kiwanis and Lions. These clubs can help bridge the gap between gleaning programs and for-profit organizations. RFH continually comes across new Rotarians who have transportation or other services to donate. When exploring and forming new transport partnerships it may prove helpful to connect with a wide range of different sized organizations. This may give you access to a wider range of vehicles to support gleaning projects of varying scales. While establishing new connections in the community, use a dynamic person who can educate and engage businesses and their leaders. This individual should understand the needs of their local community. This type of spokesperson will be most effective at making appeals for new resources. Even if businesses can’t provide physical support for field gleaning, try to have them help in other ways. Grocery stores and produce wholesalers could be great resources for expert information on how to successfully transport, store and distribute fresh produce. Close connections to these companies may also lead to future donations, like vehicles, storage, volunteers or food.

Common Theme: Leverage Partnerships The common thread that ties all of these suggestions together is the need for gleaning crews to grow and sustain community partnerships – whether they are with hunger relief coalitions, trucking companies, grocery stores, beverage distributors, farms or service clubs. By combining resources among community partners you will secure more resources to glean more food. The bottom line is more partnerships lead to more resources, which generates more pounds and servings of gleaned produce for clients in need. Learning More If you would like to learn about transportation and storage capacity for hunger-relief in greater detail, please view the Washington State Hunger Relief Gap Analysis at:

Contact Information Rotary First Harvest - a program of Rotary District 5030 206-236-0408

Fields of Grace pg. 64

Fields of Grace Liability Waiver

Harvest Against Hunger at RFH pg. 65

Grower Flier

Small Potatoes pg. 66

Glean Information

pg. 67

Gleaning Record

pg. 68

Photo Release Form

pg. 69

Tips and Rules for Volunteering

pg. 71

Samle E-mail

Lettuce Link pg. 72

Information about Harvesting Fruit

pg. 73

Interview Questions for Produce Recipients

pg. 74

Lettuce Link Volunteer Application

pg. 75

Grow a Row Information Sheet

pg. 76

Got Fruit? Give Fruit!

pg. 77

We Picked Your Fruit Today

pg. 78

Do You have Extra Fruit?

pg. 79

Volunteer Information Form

Thurston County Food Bank pg. 80

Thurston County Food Bank flier

Improving Your Gleaning Project pg. 81

Donate Trucking flier

FIELDS OF GRACE LIABILTY WAIVER Gleaner’s Name ______________________________________

Date of Birth ______________________

Address _____________________________________ City _____________ State _____ Zip_____________ Home Phone _____________________________

Cell Phone ____________________________________

E-mail Address ___________________________________________________________________________ Church or Group Name(if applicable) __________________________________________________________ Health Insurance Co. _______________________________ Policy # ________________________________

LIABILITY WAIV ER Please print clearly and fill in this form to the best of your knowledge. List any medical concerns of which thegleaning coordinatorshould be aware:


__________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________ In the event ________________________________ suffers any illness or accident requiringemergency (insert gleaner’s name)

hospitalization, medication, or surgery while participating in this gleaning, on the recommendation of the doctor and in the event of the inability to notify the emergency contact person listed below,I hereby give my permission for any medical treatment which may be deemed necessary and reasonable under the circumstances. Safety is of paramount importance in a gleaning event. For the protection of all involved, this disclaimer is necessary. The Undersigned hereby agrees that 2nd Harvest, the farm owners or operators participating in the program, and West Side Church, its representatives, officers, employees, volunteers and governing board members (“Indemnitees”) shall not be liable for any injury (including death) to any personparticipating in the gleaning event, regardless of how such injury or damage be caused, sustained or alleged to have been sustained by the participant or others as a result of any condition (including defects in equipment, negligent supervision, or any other cause) or occurrence whatsoever related in any way to the gleaning event, and travel to or from said event. The Undersigned hereby releases the Indemnitees from any claim, cause of action, judgment, or liability for such injury or damage, and furtheraccepts any risk associated with participating in the gleaning event and waives any claim for damages resulting from any injury or damage. Signature __________________________ ________ Gleaner


Signature ________________________ Parent/Guardian, if gleaner is under 18 years of age

_______ Date

Notify in Case of Emergency: Name _________________________________________ Relationship _______________________________ Address _______________________________ City _________________ State ______ Zip ______________ Home Phone ________________ Work Phone____________________ Cell Phone______________________ Important—PLEASE READ: Fields of Grace takes photos and video at many of our gleaning events. Your likeness may be used in newsletters, videos, brochures, or for other promotional purposes.


Harvest Against Hunger (HAH): Connecting Farms, Food Banks, and Gleaners for Statewide Hunger Relief

When a grower has surplus or blemished produce, they can simply call 1-800-457-4483 and HAH will organize volunteer gleaners to harvest the fruit or vegetables and then transport this produce to the farm’s local food bank. Growers can donate their produce to feed hungry people without creating an inordinate amount of work for either the grower or the hunger relief agency Grower benefits of participating with HAH: HAH makes it convenient for growers to donate their food o Gleaning can be organized on a weekday or weekend to work with your schedule o HAH can help harvest, transport produce, or coordinate logistics with your local food bank  Donations made by growers may be tax deductible  Growers can see the fruits (or vegetables!) of their labor stay within their community and go to a good cause  Unmarketable produce doesn’t go to waste  Donating farms will be included in promotional material of HAH and posted on our website  Liability issues for growers and donors are covered by the Emerson Good Samaritan Food Recovery Act. Please contact HAH Gleaning Coordinator Theresa Owen at 206-686-1485 or to participate and visit for more information. 

Glean Information Date contacted: _____________________________________________________________________ Date of Glean: ______________________________________________________________________ SPGP Staff writing this report: ________________________________________________________ Name: _____________________________________________________________________________ Address: ___________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ Mailing Address, if different: __________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ E-mail: _____________________________________________________________________________ Phone Number: _____________________________________________________________________ Type of Produce: ____________________________________________________________________ Number of Trees (if applicable): _______________________________________________________ Date range for harvesting: ____________________________________________________________ Recurring opportunity? ______________________________________________________________ Gleaned Before? ____________________________________________________________________ Date and Quantity? _________________________________________________________________ Approx. estimate in pounds or boxes: __________________________________________________ Approx. number of volunteers needed: _________________________________________________ Ladders required? __________________________________________________________________ Any other equipment required? _______________________________________________________ Special harvesting instructions: _______________________________________________________ Where to park: _____________________________________________________________________ Any special driving directions: ________________________________________________________ Convenient times for owner/farmer: ___________________________________________________ Must owner/farmer be present? _______________________________________________________ More produce available later? ________________________________________________________ Any other important info: ____________________________________________________________

Small Potatoes Gleaning Record Date:

Glean Time: From

Farm Name: Number of gleaners: Number of recipients:

Type of Produce Gleaned

Glean Team?

Yes No

Other Group?

Yes No


Pounds gleaned

Destination (weigh recipient total first)

Pounds delivered

VOLUNTEER SIGN IN Field Coordinator: Gleaner names and contact info or changes

I have read and understand the terms of the liability waiver on the back of this form. (signature and date) Rec'p


Bellingham Food Bank  Alternatives to Hunger

By signing below, I, ____________________________________________, permit photos and videos in which I appear to be used by the Small Potatoes Gleaning Project, Bellingham Food Bank, and Harvest Against Hunger for promotional purposes.

Signature____________________________________________ Date____________________

What to Wear - Tips for Volunteers We glean in all kinds of weather. Wear clothing that is appropriate and comfortable for working outside, bending, lifting and walking. •

Shoes: Always wear sturdy, closed-toed shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty. No sandals! If the field is wet or muddy, rubber boots work well.

Clothing: Dress in layers. Early mornings in Whatcom County can be very cool even in the middle of the summer, but the days can warm up quickly. o Clothing made of silk, nylon, coolmax or fleece wicks moisture and dries quickly. It will be more comfortable and keep you warmer on cold wet days than cotton will. o Rain Pants work well on cool, wet mornings even if it’s not raining. o Long sleeves and long pants are best for crops like corn and blackberries, and provide added protection from poison ivy, insects and sun.

What to Bring - Tips for Volunteers •

Sunscreen: Important on both sunny and overcast days. Bring your own since we don’t always have extra on hand.

Gloves: We have some gardening and rubber gloves to lend, but bring your own if you like.

Hats: Depending on the weather, bring one that will provide protection against the sun, rain or cold.

Water or other beverage for when you get thirsty. We will generally provide a water jug and cups.

Medications: If you have allergies to any kind of plants or insect bites, please let the project coordinator know and make sure to bring along any medication that you will need in case of an allergic reaction. This can be a life or death situation in the field, since we are often far away from medical service. If you have other potentially life-threatening health conditions, please inform the project coordinator.

Bathrooms are not usually available at gleaning sites, so please plan accordingly. Children are welcome at most, but not all, gleans. Please check with the project coordinator before bringing children under the age of 13 along. Gleaning can be a fun and rewarding experience for children and their parents to share. All children must be under the supervision of a parent or guardian at all times. This protects their safety and enhances their involvement in the gleaning activity while minimizing the possibility of getting injured or unintentionally causing damage to crops or farm equipment.

What to Bring - Tips for Volunteers Continued School and Community groups are encouraged to join us. School and youth groups must be accompanied by adequate adult supervision. If you need to arrange permission and transportation, please bear in mind that we usually do not receive much prior notice about produce that is available for gleaning, due to the nature of farming. The months of September and October are best for advance planning. During those months we often have larger scale, longer-term gleaning sites for corn and apples, so it may be possible to schedule a glean for your group several days to a week ahead.

Gleaning Rules All volunteer gleaners must abide by the Good Samaritan Law, and will not hold the farmers, Small Potatoes Gleaning Project, or any sponsoring organization responsible for the any accident, injury, or other loss incurred while participating in the program. Remember that we are guests on the farmer’s or home owner’s property when gleaning. Please treat the property with utmost care. Park only in the areas designated by the coordinator. Always stay within the assigned gleaning area and pick the produce as instructed. Our goal is to harvest food with care and respect for the farmer who grew it, for the other volunteers who are donating their time, for the people who will eat the good, and for the food itself. Please handle all produce gently! Fruit bruises very easily. Harvest and pack it according to the instructions given by the project coordinator. Children under the age of 13 must be closely supervised by a parent or other responsible adult at all times. Not all gleans are appropriate for children, so please check before bringing your kids along. Smoking is not allowed at any gleaning site. No dogs are allowed at any gleaning site, except service dogs. Safety is of the greatest importance on a glean. Make sure ladders are fully set up and properly braced. Do not climb trees or fences, ride on the back of moving vehicles, or work near farm machinery. If you know you are allergic to bee stings, insect bites, or certain plants, you are responsible for bringing whatever medication you need in the event of an allergic reaction. Make sure you leave the area where you have gleaned cleaner than you found it. Pick up all trash, containers, and equipment. Return any tools that the farmer may have provided. Take all trash with you. Pack it in – pack it out. If you have agreed to volunteer for a glean, but are unable to come, please inform the project coordinator as early as possible, so there will be time to find a replacement. Gleaning is best done by many hands, so please let us know if you find you can’t lend yours. Most importantly, RESPECT THE FOOD AND THE PEOPLE WHO GREW IT. Farmers and farm workers have worked hard to produce these crops. The farmers have invited us to glean the produce that they cannot harvest themselves because they want it to reach those who need it!

Hello, Gleaners! This has been an outstanding week for the gleaning project. Thanks to the efforts of 33 volunteers, we harvested 40 pounds of hazelnuts, 75 pounds of grapes, 1050 pounds of carrots, 5920 pounds of apples, 120 pounds of onions, and 240 pounds of farmers market produce!  That’s 7445 pounds of produce that was delivered to 14 different organizations in the county!

An extra-big thank you goes to the folks who stayed for almost four hours at Sm’apples, helping us fill every last box, and to those who braved the rain and mud to glean carrots this morning.

Have a great weekend!


Information about harvesting fruit When: o Harvesting begins in mid -July (with early plums) and continues into October. o The busiest timefor fruit harvest is August through September. o Harvest times vary by area and availability of fruit; volunteers arrange time for fruit tree harvest with owner. Where: You will either meet at the site of the tree or at the neighborhood ‘drop o ’ site. The drop o location is a person’s garage or another place where ladders, fruit pickers, boxes, etc. are stored and where fruit is dropped o after picking. The drop o location for your neighborhood is: ______________________________________________________________________ What to bring: o Long-sleeve shirt, eye protection (glasses, sunglasses), hat, old clothes o Drinking Water o Boxes and bags (Note: for soft fruit, use boxes that aren’t too deep. Otherwise, fruit on bottom can be smashed.) o Ladder, if you have one o Fruit picker for higher fruit Staying safe and being courteous: o If you have bee or wasp allergies, bring medical protection. o Watch for tra c. o Only climb as high as you are comfortable (don’t use top two steps of ladder). We will only pick as high as is safe. o If you smoke, step away from the crew and house. Bring hand soap or gloves so the scent doesn’t linger on the fruit. How to pick: o For apples and pears, lift and twist. Plums will give easily. o Ripe? Pears are picked green. Apples and pears are ready if they can be easily removed from the branch. Plums on one tree ripen at di erent times – pick those that are starting to soften. If they are very soft or split, put into yard waste bins (or keep for yourself). o Keep stems attached to fruit,f ipossible. (Fruit lasts longer in storage that way.) o Don’t shake the trees. o Do Not take fruit that has touched the ground. There is a risk of E. coli, and bruised fruit spoils faster. o Use the fruit picker for higher fruit (experience volunteers will demonstrate.) o Don’t over ll boxes and bags, especially with soft fruit. After fruit is picked: o If the donor requested a bag of fruit, leave with the person or on porch. o Leave a donation letter and thank you note o Weigh fruit and record numbers o Make sure theyard is as clean as we found it; put unusable fruit that was picked in yard waste. o Deliver or store fruit for next day delivery.


Interview Questions for Produce Donation Recipients The basics Organization name: ___________________________________________________________ Address: ____________________________________________________________________ Phone number: ______________________________________________________________ Contact person: ______________________________________________________________ Best method of contact (phone/e-mail/just showing up): ____________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ Program Overview Who do they serve? _______________ How? _______________ How many people on a given day? _______________________ What are approximate demographics? ____________________ Men/women: ________________________ Kids/families/adults/seniors: _____________________________ Languages spoken: ___________________________________________________________ Food Needs Types of Fruit Wanted: _________________________________________________________ Apples: ____________ Pears: _____________ Plums: ____________ Cooking apples and/or blemished fruit: ___________________________________________ How much can they accommodate? _____________________________________________ Unit is a “box” : _________________ Delivery How much advance notice is needed? __________________ A week? A day? An hour? None? ______________________ When are the best drop off days and times? ________________________________________ Parking/best place to unload: ____________________________________________________ Who to leave food with or ask for at front desk: ______________________________________ Can all volunteers enter facility? (i.e. men at a women’s shelter): ________________________ Publicity Can we give out the address/phone number to volunteers? _____________________________________________________________________________ Can we post the address/phone number on a spreadsheet available on the internet? _____________________________________________________________________________

Lettuce Link Volunteer Application Fruit Tree Harvest Project NAME:


PHONE: (day)

(eve) E -MAIL:

ADDRESS: CITY/STATE/ZIP: Neighborhood Are you 18 or older?

Employer How did you hear about us?

PERSONAL INFORMATION Why do you want to volunteer with Lettuce Link?

How would you like to help? Harvest? “Scout” trees? Deliver fruit? Other?

Do you have access to a vehicle? Can you carry a ladder in your car/truck/station wagon? Are you willing to be contacted on an ‘on call’ basis, when help is needed?

REFERENCES (Work or Volunteer-Related) Name/relationship:





no, prefer a schedule

-Grow a RowPlant a seed, feed someone in need Lettuce Link increases access to organic produce, vegetable seeds, & gardening information for people with limited incomes throughout the Seattle. In 2008, P-Patchers, gleaners and backyard gardeners donated 54,000 lbs. of fresh delicious organic produce to over twenty food banks and hot meals programs in Seattle. Almost every garden produces more than a single family can eat. There are many people who don’t have the money or means to buy these summer treats. Please join the Lettuce Link community and take the time to harvest and donate to a local food bank or meals program

How YOU can help nourish your community 9 Plant an extra row or more. 9 Plant just one extra crop. A larger harvest of one item is better for food banks. 9 Food banks love most fresh veggies! Some good examples of easy things to grow are: Beets, carrots, collard greens, green onions, herbs (dill, basil, cilantro, etc) beans, peas, cucumbers, squash, pak choi, chard, radishes and lettuce.

9 Harvest and deliver to a food bank or hot meals program in your neighborhood. Make sure you wash, bag & label your produce; it makes it easier to distribute.

9 For program locations and hours, see Lettuce Link’s website at

9 Keep track of your produce donations; send season totals to Lettuce Link. For more information, contact Solid Ground’s Lettuce Link Program (206) 694-6754 Seattle, WA

Got fruit? Give fruit! Solid Ground’s Lettuce Link program encourages you to share the bounty of fruit trees with those in need in your community. Tree owners . . . If you have harvested more healthy fruit than you need and would like resources about where to donate it, contact Lettuce Link at lettucelink@solid or 206.694.6754. If you need help harvesting your pesticide free, worm free apple, plum or pear trees for donation, contact Seattle Tilth at or 206.633.0224. Volunteers . . . If you would like to help pick and deliver donated fruit, contact Lettuce Link at 206.694.6754.

We picked your fruit today. Thanks! Volunteers with Lettuce Link’s Community Fruit Tree Harvest project harvested your fruit tree and will deliver the fruit to an appropriate food bank, shelter, meals program, or other organization needing fruit. Thank you for sharing your fruit with others! In 2009, Community Fruit Tree Harvest volunteers picked and delivered more than 19,600 pounds of fruit. If you have questions about this project, please contact Lettuce Link at or 206.694.6754.

Do you have extra fruit? The Community Fruit Tree Harvest helps homeowners harvest extra fruit and donate it to organizations serving those that can use it food banks, meals programs, shelters, and community organizations.

We are working with volunteers in your neighborhood to harvest fruit. If you would like your fruit harvested this year, please call: Seattle Tilth Garden Hotline 206-633-0224 or The Community Fruit Tree Harvest is a collaboration between Solid Ground’s Lettuce Link program & Seattle Tilth.

I n 2009, Community Fruit Tree H arvest volunteers picked more than 19,600 pounds of fruit and delivered it to Seattle food banks and meals programs—fruit that would otherwise fall to the ground and go to waste. You can help by donating fruit from your tree. We’ll provide the volunteers to harvest (and we’d love if you gave us a hand)! What fruits? apples, plums, pears, Asian pears pesticide-free worm-free harvested from the tree (not the ground) ree

Volunteer Information 2010 The Community Fruit Tree Harvest connects Seattle residents who have extra fruit from their residential trees with volunteers who harvest this fruit and deliver it to those who can use it. We depend on volunteers to pick and deliver this fruit. In 2009, volunteers harvested and delivered 19,600 pounds of pesticide- free plums, apples, Asian pears, and pears. Who gets the fruit? Fruit is made available to persons who otherwise lack access to fresh, organic produce. Last year volunteers delivered fruit to more than 45 di erent community organizations including food banks, meals programs, shelters, low income apartment complexes, programs for children and youth, and senior facilities. Without the coordinated e orts of the fruit tree harvest project volunteers, much of that fruit would have fallen to the ground and rotted. Who gives the fruit? Most fruit comes from private residences in Seattle from people who can’t use all their fruit and hate to see it wasted. None of the fruit has been sprayed with pesticides. How can you help? From July through October we need help harvesting trees and delivering fruit. The heaviest activity occurs in August and September. There are many options: “Scout� trees inyour neighborhood to see if they are ripe and harvestable before sending volunteers to harvest Harvest at scheduled work parties work parties are led by a team leader and occur twice a week in select neighborhoods Be on-call to harvest fruit in your neighborhood (An e-mail or phone call will go out to the volunteers in a particular neighborhood that a tree is ripe. Volunteers who are available will make arrangements for picking) Provide garage storage for ladders, picking buckets, and/or harvested fruit Deliver harvested fruit to food banks, meal programs and low income apartments For questions and information , please contact Lettuce Link at Trees. If you have friends or neighbors who need assistance in harvesting their pesticide free, worm free apple, pear and plum trees for donation, please have them contact the Seattle Tilth Garden Hotline at (206) 633-0224 or The Garden Hotline does the initial intake for trees, and then sends the information over to us at Lettuce Link.


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Glossary Agricultural Extension: Service provided by a state’s land-grant university for agricultural education, community economic development and 4-H. AmeriCorps*VISTA: The AmeriCorps Volunteer in Service to America program provides full-time members to nonprofit, faith-based and other community organizations to create and expand programs that ultimately bring low-income individuals and communities out of poverty. Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act: This act encourages donation of food and grocery products to non-profit organizations for distribution to individuals in need. The act protects against liability for product donated in good faith. Cold Storage: Refrigerating or freezing food products to maintain or extend its integrity. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA): Members of a CSA purchase a share from a farm up front, and in exchange receive boxes of vegetables throughout the growing season. Cull: The rejected fruits or vegetables of a harvest that can be collected and possibly provide donated produce to the emergency food system. Distribution Center/Agency: An organization that collects, warehouses and distributes donated food on a local, regional and/or statewide level. Emergency Food: Food that is given to individuals who do not have the means to acquire that food themselves, typically from either a food bank or meal program. Field Gleaning: The act of collecting leftover crops from farmers’ fields after they have been commercially harvested, or from fields where it is not economically profitable to harvest. Gleaning: Collecting unharvested produce and tree fruits to be distributed into the hunger-relief system and onto clients in need. Hunger Program: An organization or group program that distributes food for free to people in need. Orchard ladder: A tripod ladder used to access fruit trees. P-Patch: Community gardens in Seattle. Stone Fruit: Fruit with a single seed, for example: peach, plum or cherry. Storage Capacity: Ability to collect and store food in dry or climate controlled conditions.

Acknowledgements Julie Greenberg, Gleaning Resource Guide Project Manager Bronwyn Webster, Gleaning Resource Guide Designer Eduardo Recife, Gleaning Resource Guide Font Designer

Additional Acknowledgements Michelle Bates-Benetua Bill Basl Katy Boehm David Bobanick Autumn Carroll Mike Cohen Robert Coit Jonathan Cowles Julie Fine Paul Haas Lisa Hall Alyce Hanson Kathye Kilgore Theresa Owen Thea Roe Joe Tierney Andy Wangstad Alissa Watkins Seattle Foundation Washington State Department of Agriculture Aven Foundation Monsanto Foundation Washington State University Small Farms Program

Harvest Against Huger c/o Rotary First Harvest a program of Rotary District 5030 P.O. Box 94117, Seattle, WA 98124 Phone: 206-236-0408 Email:

The Gleaners Resource Guide  
The Gleaners Resource Guide  

Developed through the Harvest Against Hunger program of Rotary First Harvest - a program of Rotary District 5030 (RFH), this guide is design...