Be Visible to the Community

Get the word out. The gleaning program will grow faster when the community understands that the program is a resource. Since our world is built on fast communication it’s getting increasingly difficult to retain food security on a local level. Keep people engaged with interesting hand-outs and by engaging yourself in the community. A familiar face and a few catchy phrases will go far. Here are some examples:

  • Take every opportunity to reach out to your audience. This can be meetings, community groups, or farmer’s markets. It’s an endless list—be creative!
  • Volunteer your own time with agencies and non-profits. Show that you’re a team player and better understand their programs.
  • Posters! Create resources that educate and inspire. Captivate Individuals while influencing them to take a step toward supporting the cause. Some good examples are fliers, calendars, newsletters, and one-pagers. Include information your audience can use such as food bank open hours and who to contact if they’re interested in volunteering.
  • Set up a booth at a local event. Get the name of the program out there and meet interested people. This is also a good place for acquiring volunteers.
  • Newspapers may be going out of style but they aren’t gone yet. Buy an ad, write an editorial, or score an interview. Pictures help!
  • Act the lifestyle. Find an aspect of the program that appeals to you and incorporate into your lifestyle; make the same commitment that you’re asking of others.

This is the chance to make the issues known. Food security and environmental impact are popular subjects and individuals want to help. Be opportunistic about your approach and read your audience. Even if no one acts on it that day, they may remember the name or the logo at a later time.

Kitsap Public Health District in conjunction with Rotary First Harvest is hosting an AmeriCorps VISTA to coordinate the food recovery efforts throughout Kitsap County. The mission is to create a sustainable, community-based system of broadening food security and alleviating food waste. The objective is achieved by recovering unsalable produce while increasing the amount of fresh and local produce in the eight food banks in the area. The work is done through two farmer’s markets, residential donations, outreach in the community, food banks, and in Kitsap Public Health’s new community garden.

April 2016 launched the program with the arrival of the first AmeriCorps VISTA. Overall the aim is to develop a county-wide gleaning program with the purpose of becoming a permanent volunteer based entity after the three year allotment with AmeriCorps. Identifying and strengthening relationships with local growers, food banks, farmer’s markets, volunteers and the community at large is at the heart of the program. Lastly, the coordination of volunteer based gleaning activities. Kitsap Harvest has the support of the Bremerton Farmer’s Market and WSU Extension. A recent partnership with the non-profit Seeds of Grace resulted in Kitsap Harvest supporting a community garden in which produce will be delivered straight to food banks and will engage the community of all ages.

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