The “Yes, we CAN!” cannery project is volunteer intensive. It takes 30-50 volunteers to keep the cannery humming over a 7 hour period of time. If it mobilizes the necessary volunteer force, the coalition has access to upwards of 50 days of canning per year. With an average daily production of 2500 pounds of produce and an ever dwindling supply of produce from other sources, the motivation to recruit cannery volunteers has been great.
You can increase visibility for your organization, produce recovery or volunteer engagement project in a number of different ways. This year's VISTA utilized various methods including verbal and digital outlets.
Building these relationships can be as simple as meeting for coffee or a one-on-one tour of a facility. Your partnerships will be strong if you prioritize face-to-face relationship building and phone conversations over email. Plus, it’s just more fun to meet people who are passionate about human services, just like you!
The South King County Food Coalition’s VISTA projects differed significantly from many of the other Harvest VISTA positions this year. Little focus was placed on agricultural gleaning and thus the picture of donor relations looks very different. That said, the coalition has several key donors with whom this year’s VISTA collaborated closely.
In a heavily urbanized area such as south King County, the potential for on farm gleans is somewhat diminished. However, there is a growing interest from some of the coalition’s food banks to develop community gardens and small farms that produce a portion of their food for consumption by food bank clients.