Community Fruit Tree Harvest

Molly Woodring Fruit Tree for Resource Guide from Harvest Against Hunger on Vimeo.

 

Donor Outreach and Recruitment

Lettuce Link recruits new fruit donors in several ways:

  • Word-of-mouth – current donors and volunteers outreach amongst neighbors and friends
  • Tabling at plant sales and harvest fairs, food- and urban agriculture-related events, etc.
  • Emailing local listservs (e.g. Sustainable Seattle lists, P-Patch)
  • Door-to-door canvassing (Note: it is illegal to leave a flyer in someone’s mailbox. Flyers are tucked in the door, under the doormat, or rolled up in the door handle.)
  • Local media such as Seattle's neighborhood blogs, local radio and TV stations
  • Social media including Lettuce Link's Facebook page and the Solid Ground Twitter account

Communication

The Harvest Coordinator contacts past donors early in the season and follows up as needed. Most donors are very understanding about the back-and-forth it can take to determine the optimal time to harvest, and the process is streamlined as much as possible. It can be helpful to:

  • Give homeowners specific signs of ripeness to look for (e.g. black seeds in apples, plums just starting to soften, etc.).
  • Tell donors early on that it can take a few days to get volunteers together.
  • Ask donors upfront if they want to be there when volunteers come or if it is acceptable to stop by anytime.
  • After a harvest event, notify donors if fruit was infested, if the tree could benefit from pruning, if volunteers harvested everything they could reach except for the fruit at the very top of the tree.

Harvesting

In order to maintain good donor relations, volunteers are encouraged to do the following:

  • Leave the yard as it was pre-harvest. Close the gate. Be careful of gardens and landscaping. Pick up and put fallen fruit and branches in the yard waste bin.
  • Be safe and respect the tree. Harvest carefully, use proper protocol while on orchard ladders, and don't climb the tree.
  • Leave a thank you card. Harvesters sign and leave a card including date of harvest, how much fruit was harvested, and where the fruit is getting donated.

Recognition/Follow-up

At the end of the season, the Harvest Coordinator sends another thank you to all donors. This letter shares the final results of the harvest and asks them to consider making a financial donation to keep the harvest going.


Lettuce Link, a program Solid Ground program, is an innovative food and gardening program that works with a large volunteer network create a community where people have access to healthy and culturally appropriate food. 

 

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