As a young organization, marketing and visibility are extremely important for SETP. The organization has spent a lot of time reaching out to the community to let them know who they are, what they do, and how they fit into the broader hunger community. Marketing is done through various methods, such as tabling at events, maintaining a Facebook and Instagram presence, a website, and other media outlets.
SETP board members and staff attended a variety of neighborhood and community events. These included Earth Day Spokane, Vegfest, local farmers markets, block parties, neighborhood council meetings, and more. These events allowed members of the community to learn what SETP does, and also provided an avenue for them to sign up to receive the monthly newsletter, which is how much of the communication about volunteer opportunities occurs. At these events, SETP also has a variety of marketing materials such as brochures, business cards, t shirts (suggested donation $15) and tote bags (suggested donation $10).
SETP also posts updates and events on Facebook almost every other day. During gleaning season, there is definitely more of a presence, but educational and community videos and events are also shared during the off season. Many individuals interact with the page by “liking”, “sharing”, or “commenting” on photos. Individuals also use Facebook when indicating if they are attending an event (they are also redirected to the website to sign up, as that is typically a more sure sign that they will attend). The SETP Instagram is less active, but some photos are shared there, especially during gleaning season and when there are upcoming events.
A website is also maintained. The website was designed by a volunteer and then board members and HAH VISTA were trained in how to make changes to the website. The website is the avenue for much of the communication and marketing, as individuals can sign up to volunteer on the website, register their trees, apply to be on the Board of Directors, sign up for the newsletter, and also sign up for individual events. The calendar on the website is probably the most active, as there is an event sign up form linked to each event. This is how volunteers sign up for gleans, and upcoming events show up on the home page of the website so that they are quickly and easily seen.
This year, the organization was featured in the Spokesman Review as a result of the partnership with Resurrection Orchard, a restored orchard on church property. This helped to bolster the organization’s image and also flooded the organization with tree owners. In the coming years, SETP hopes to use their connections to get more press and media attention.
The Spokane Edible Tree Project (SETP) was founded in 2013 by former HAH Americorps VISTA Kate Burke. Through her work in a produce recovery position at Second Harvest Food Bank, she recognized the abundance of fruit trees in Spokane County, and noticed that much of this fruit goes to waste. SETP was formed to fill this gap in the system and to empower the community to share the resources that are so abundantly available to them. SETP became a certified 501(c)(3) in 2015. The organization operated fully on volunteers for the first three years. In 2016, they recruited their first HAH Americorps VISTA, who serves as the program coordinator for the organization. SETP has continued to grow and develop over the last three years, and has worked hard to make a name for itself in the community. In 2016, their most successful year yet, 42,000 lbs of fruit were harvested and donated to various community partners.
WSU Extension of Spokane County has been a valuable partner for SETP, as they have helped to support and supervise the HAH Americorps VISTA. The extension office was also essential partners in developing the SETP educational programming.