Start Your Chapter
You may have landed on this page by mistake. If you want to:
- register a fruit tree so you can donate your excess backyard fruit (click here)
- select a harvest near you so you can help pick fruit for the needy (click here)
- do your part to help feed the hungry in your community, read on. You are awesome, and you are on the right page.
Every year more than 40 million pounds of backyard fruit goes to waste. Meanwhile, a Americans (1 out of 6) don’t have enough food to eat, and the food that they eat is unhealthy for them and the environment. What can we do?
About seven years ago we started a local gleaning project with one tree and two volunteers. At that time, we knew a few things,
What We Knew
We knew donated fruit harvested by volunteers would be cost effective.
We knew backyard fruit is healthy for people because the vast majority are not sprayed or fertilized
We knew backyard fruit is good for the environment because naturalized trees are not watered and have a low carbon footprint (no travel)
We knew every pound of fruit rescued was a pound of waste diverted.
What We Didn’t Know
We did not know if the community would support this project.
We did not know how many people wold be willing to donate their fruit and let us into their homes
We did not know if we could find enough volunteers to help harvest the fruit
What We Learned
We jumped in, started the project and the word got out. People from across the county, offered their excess fruit and a lot of people gave us their helping hands to pick them. Last year over 1,000 volunteers helped harvest 147,000 pounds from over 1,400 trees.
What’s the Problem?
We now get requests from neighboring towns and counties and we have to say no because it makes no sense to travel long distances to pick fruit.
What’s the Solution?
The solution is simple. What if we create local chapters that are supported by a central team? What if the central team does the boring but necessary work so the local chapters can do the work that matters.
Testing the Idea
We tested the idea. We now have eight local teams in three counties. We worked through the glitches and the basic idea works.
How does it Work?
We join hands. We do some of the work and you do some.
You Will Receive
– legal structure including 501(c)3 non-profit status.
– insurance for your chapter
– harvest equipment such as picking poles
– chapter page on our website
– access to our software tools to track fruit donors, track trees, organize harvests and monitor progress.
– training for Harvest Leaders
– methodology for recruiting volunteers and fruit donors
– press, community and social media outreach tools
– You will define your community. It can be a town, part of a town, a zip code or an area. You decide what’s right for you.
– you will work with your community. Fruit donors and volunteers in your area may have questions, and no one knows the answers better than y team.
– organize and conduct local harvests. We recommend you start with one harvest per month (takes about 3 to 4 hours) and decide on your future directions.
– identify and work with local hunger relief agencies. This is where you will deliver the fruit. It can be a food bank, a pantry in a house of worship, a soup kitchen or a combination of them. The fruit, other than what you share with volunteers, must be donated.
– Harvest Leaders must be 21 years old and have a valid drivers license.
– your team must have access to a pickup truck or an SUV
– your team must have space to store the harvest equipment (about 4 feet by 4 feet corner of a garage or shed)