For Starting a New Project
Can we help you start a similar project?
We were hoping you’d ask, and the answer is YES! While we can help you start a gleaning project anywhere, some of our resources are only available locally. For now we are looking for two counties in northern California to test the expansion of the project.
The work that we do in Contra Costa County is a pilot project. It’s where we incubate ideas and develop processes. For example, it took us 3 years to go from 3 volunteers to 200 volunteers. Then last year we went from 200 volunteers to over 1,200 volunteers. It took three years to go from 1,400 pounds of fruit to 31,000 pounds of fruit. Then in 2013 we harvested 106,000 pounds of fruit. It’s one thing to hatch an idea, it’s another thing to make it work.
We now know how to get the word out to volunteers and fruit donors and get the community mobilized. We want to help you get your gleaning project up and running quickly, because 1) the hungry person in your neighborhood suffers as much, and as needlessly, as the one next door to us, and 2) we think reinventing the wheel is as exciting as watching paint dry.
Stuff to do
Getting out into the community, harvesting fruit and helping the poor can actually be a ton of fun (if in doubt sign up for a harvest here) and a major boost to your happiness. But before you can get out of the gate, there are two tons of boring stuff that must be done first.
For instance, you have to organize a legal entity, secure non-profit status, register with local and state government, form a governing board, buy insurance, buy equipment, develop safety protocols and harvest training materials, develop communications and networking materials, develop an outreach strategy, identify local hunger relief agencies, and oh, did we mention build a website?
Of course you’ll also need software tools that do everything from registering volunteers to registering fruit trees to scheduling harvests to tracking relationships with hunger relief agencies, as well as provide a comprehensive reporting system to record and report donations and keep everyone up to date. Let’s say uuuuugh together!
Fortunately, this is where we can help.
What’s the Plan?
We want you to get up and running as fast as you can say “up and running.” For the right group, we will provide everything listed above, at no cost, with only a small string attached.
Like all organizations, we need to be very careful with our resources. We’ll give you three and a half tons of support at no cost (here comes the string) but we need you to take action and produce results. Good intentions are nice, but we can’t feed the hungry with our good thoughts alone. We need and support action. Good thoughts translated into action… well, that’s love at work.
The game plan is simple. Once we come to a clear understanding, we will provide you with the basic materials above, offer you whatever training you need and, depending on your location, even send a cracker-jack team of experienced volunteers to map your resources and contact the like-minded people in your community. We’ll even help you plant a “Giving Orchard.”
So what is left to do?
You must be willing to operate the project in your locality. This means you must be willing to:
– organize harvests in your area
– organize the volunteers to support the harvests
– develop relationships with your local hunger relief agencies
– organize one or more vehicles to carry the tools and equipment to the harvest
– organize one or more vehicles to carry the harvested fruit to hunger relief agencies; and
– work with us so we understand your needs and can support you appropriately.
What about making jams?
So your best friend is the world’s best jam maker. How can she play? We think the best projects are local. We want to provide a solid infrastructure for you as well as the people that come after you. Adding local color to the project, be it making jam, drying fruit or whatever you choose, is entirely up to you, as long as you promise to send us a jar!
We are flexible with everything, other than our core values. Basically, we believe it is important to support like-minded people who want to build and strengthen their communities in a sustainable way, and we are here to celebrate your work.
Our core values revolve around community, environment, sustainability, innovation and helping those who need help. If these ring true to you, then welcome to The Urban Farmers Collective and let’s get the show up and running.