Promotional materials are a must. Develop handouts and flyers for potential volunteers and donors. Materials can inform both groups and the general public or can target one group at a time. Flyers can be posters and/or pull tab. For events it’s great to have a quarter page handout that explains how to get involved. Give concrete steps to show the ease of the program. No one wants a hand out that only says, “Contact our office for more information”. Provide contact information but explain the process and context of gleaning in the program. Door hangers that provide property owners with program goals and contacts are helpful. Volunteers can use these in their own neighborhoods as an unobtrusive way to spread the word about gleaning. The gleaning coordinator can then explain any details if contacted.
Developing flexible PowerPoints that can be used for different populations will come in handy. On your slides, use concrete and simple concepts that can be employed during presentations. Simple statistics on number of volunteers, volunteer hours, poundage harvested, food agencies reached, etc. can be effective. Getting familiar with a good PowerPoint is worth a lot more than developing a new one every week for every occasion. Endless PowerPointing not only takes more time than you should be devoting to materials but detracts from developing simple and effective language. Get good at what you got and spend more time in the trees and fields (that’s where the food is).
Another means to making your program manifest are the communication mediums. These include:
WSU Extension builds the capacity of individuals, organizations, businesses and communities, empowering them to find solutions for local issues and to improve their quality of life. The 39 Extension locations throughout the state of Washington offer researched based resources and volunteer programing to communities in efforts to create a culture of life-long learning and is recognized for its accessible, learner-centered, relevant, high-quality, unbiased educational programs. Over 100 years ago The Extension service was originally funded by the Smith-Lever Act of 1914 which established the Cooperative Extension service across the country.
The Clallam County Extension, located in Port Angeles, is home to many programs that connect the people and communities of Clallam County with the knowledge base of Washington State University. These programs include: Master Gardeners, 4-H, Small Farms, Waste Reduction, Food and Nutrition and Water Protection. The Food Recovery Coordinator position was created in 2016 to better serve the existing gleaning program. Before the creation of this position the gleaning program had served the community for eight years but never with the attention of a full time position. Today the gleaning program has over 300 volunteers who pick produce from residential trees, farm production overages, community garden donations and extras from a local farmer’s market. The gleaning coordinator promotes the program by presenting public lectures, reaching out to volunteer organizations, teaching youth groups, attending local events and by putting out press releases. Home owners are more than happy to hear there is a volunteer based organization willing to pick their unusable fruit and veggies. Once the produce has been picked a portion is taken home to family and friends and the rest is brought to a local food service program, most often a food bank. The gleaning program takes pride in turning potential food waste into a community resource.