Gleaning can be hard work and it can’t be done without dedicated volunteers and farm partners. The Pierce County Gleaning Project has made an end-of-the season celebration an annual tradition. Not only are parties fun, but they are a great way to help retain and recognize volunteers! Below are some of the Pierce County Gleaning Project’s ideas for celebrating.
Screen Print T-Shirts: Printing shirts is a fun way to advertise for your program and a great gift to give to volunteers. For the past two years, volunteers have helped with the t-shirt design and we found a local screen printing company to create the screen. If you mention that you are a nonprofit and describe the work that you do, businesses will often offer a discount. To reduce cost, the coordinator told volunteers to bring their own lightcolored shirt but provided ink, a roller, cardboard and all other materials. Many schools and universities have screen printing facilities and might be able to partner with your project to create a screen print.
Raffle prizes: Consider asking local businesses to donate a gift certificate or item to raffle away to volunteers. The coordinator asked local restaurants, a garden supply store, the farmers market, the local cooperative, and an independent movie theater. Try to ask a month in advance. The gleaning coordinator had volunteers guess how many pounds of produce was gleaned from different projects (farms, fruit trees, gardens) and gave prizes to the closest and most far off guesses.
Food: Potlucks are always great options when working with a limited budget and people interested in food justice tend to make delicious dishes! The coordinator provided apples and a press for a cider squeeze one year and goodies for making your own caramel apples another year.
Slide show: Arrange a slideshow with music to look back upon all that you’ve accomplished! Pictures are a fun way to feel proud of and remember all the work that has been done.
The Pierce County Gleaning Project focuses on a fruit tree harvest in Tacoma, gleaning from local farms as well as farmers markets, and a Plant a Row for the Hungry campaign for county gardeners.