Pruning and fruit tree care workshops, cooking demonstrations and garden workshops, panel discussions, book clubs, film showings are just some of the possibilities. In addition to getting the word out to potential volunteers and donors, the greatest benefit from these events was connecting with community partners. Community members were recruited to provide the backbone of every event, by sharing their skills of pruning, cooking, and discussing their experiences with issues related to food waste and hunger.
Finding community partners takes a little research when starting. For instance, when seeking individuals to lead fruit tree pruning demos, the PCGP coordinator first contacted the Master Gardener Program coordinator for Pierce County, who was able to contact individuals she knew who might be interested in leading the demonstrations. As a result of these efforts, the PCGP has a strong network of community partners to continue these outreach efforts into the future.
Issuing a press release to the local media outlets is often not enough to get into local papers. It helps to have a professional connection at the paper and a particular event on which to focus. However, if you don’t have these connections – do some research and start a new relationship!
TV spots at local stations are another way to get the word out. The PCGP coordinator had a segment with a local county-funded station (view here). Nurturing an organizational connection, like the one EFN has with Pierce County TV helped make this story happen.
To get into like-minded groups’ newsletters, often the coordinator need only email the editor of the newsletter with a press release and brief description of why gleaning is relevant to that organization. This was the case with articles that appeared in the Pierce County Conservation District and the Pierce County Solid Waste newsletter (view PCCD newsletter here). Senior papers are also a great way to do outreach for urban fruit harvest programs. Many newsletters go out to hundreds of homes with folks who are interested in the very issues you work on, and are a fantastic way to publicize your work.
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.