Harvest Leader Manual

  Scouting: how many pickers?


This number depends on many other numbers. The number of volunteers is a balancing act: too few volunteers may mean leaving good food in the field; too many may mean volunteers leave with too little for themselves.

Several numbers go into the calculation:

  • How much produce is available: See the discussion in the Scouting: amounts section.
  • How much each volunteer can pick: Previous harvests of the same type of crop are a good guide but may need to be adjusted based on the particular crop that is being planned. A table is included in the resources section.
  • How much parking is available: See the discussion in the Scouting: parking section.
  • How much can be transported: For large harvests, the harvest director will be arranging with food agencies to transport the produce. Sometimes their capacity is a limiting factor. The largest Marion Polk Food Share trucks can hold eight pallets and a maximum weight of about 8000 pounds.
  • Whether the ATV is available: A limiting factor for some crops is getting the donated produce from the field to the donation area. If pickers spend half their time hauling, they can pick half as much and you need twice as many of them. The ATV can greatly increase the amount harvested per picker. Even with the ATV there can be more pickers than the ATV can service. The ATV trailer can hold about 36 banana boxes.
  • How many harvest sessions there will be: This may be limited by the crop owner’s schedule, or volunteer resources, or transportation of the produce.
  • How long harvest sessions will be: Most sessions are two hours. Weekday harvests in the fall are limited by available light as the days get shorter. Harvests usually end at sunset which gives a little time to pack up the equipment and finish loading.
  • How much is reasonable for volunteers to expect to take home: Volunteers are the backbone of the organization and their subjective experience of harvests is a key element. One of the most discouraging things for volunteers is picking at a harvest that has too many people for the amount of produce.


This number depends on many other numbers. The number of volunteers is : too few volunteers may mean leaving good food in the field; too many may mean volunteers leave with too little for themselves.

Several numbers go into the calculation:

  • How much produce is available: See the discussion in the Scouting: amounts section.
  • How much each volunteer can pick: Previous harvests of the same type of crop are a good guide but may need to be adjusted based on the particular crop that is being planned. A table is included in the resources section.
  • How much parking is available: See the discussion in the Scouting: parking section.
  • How much can be transported: For large harvests, the harvest director will be arranging with food agencies to transport the produce. Sometimes their capacity is a limiting factor. The largest Marion Polk Food Share trucks can hold pallets and a maximum weight of about pounds.
  • Whether the ATV is available: A limiting factor for some crops is getting the donated produce from the field to the donation area. If pickers spend half their time hauling, they can pick half as much and you need twice as many of them. The ATV can greatly increase the amount harvested per picker. Even with the ATV there can be more pickers than the ATV can service. The ATV trailer can hold about 36 banana boxes.
  • How many harvest sessions there will be: This may be limited by the crop owner’s schedule, or volunteer resources, or transportation of the produce.
  • How long harvest sessions will be: Most sessions are . Weekday harvests in the fall are limited by as the days get . Harvests usually end at sunset which gives a little time to pack up the equipment and finish loading.
  • How much is reasonable for volunteers to expect to take home: Volunteers are the backbone of the organization and their subjective experience of harvests is a key element. One of the most discouraging things for volunteers is picking at a harvest that has too many people for the amount of produce.


Which is not a major factor in figuring how many roster slots to set for a harvest?
How much parking space is available.
How long the harvest session will be.
The number of harvests that have already taken place of that type of produce.
How many filled banana boxes of apples (40 pounds each) can be loaded on the truck?
100
200
288
If pickers typically donate 100 pounds of apples, how many pickers are needed for the harvest in question 2?
100
120
80
How long can a harvest be if it is on October 8 at 5:00pm and lasts until sunset?
2 hours
1.5 hours
Too dark already
Extra credit: A broccoli harvest has unlimited parking and unlimited produce. Pickers typically donate 60 pounds each. A box of broccoli weighs 25 pounds. The truck holds 8 pallets of six rows stacked six high. There is only one truck. How many pickers do you need?
80
100
120