Harvest Leader Manual

  Harvest: preparations

Obtain Supplies for Farm Harvests

The harvest supply tote, harvest picking containers, handwashing station, canopy, and table will be stored at Merced County Gleaning’s storage facility during harvest season or within the Merced County Gleaning truck. The canopy will only be used under special situations, like high temperatures or forecasted rain. Typically, the other supplies needed for a harvest will arrive with the food transportation vehicle. On rare occasions, the harvest leader will need to pick up the supplies to take to the harvest.

When the signups are closed, the harvest leader will be able to download it from the Harvest Roster and information Page that links from the [http://www.salemharvest.org/Utilities/seasonplanner.php] Season Planner . The packet includes all the necessary paperwork for the harvest: crop and owner information, volunteer roster, harvest assistants, food donation form, certified ladder users list, and waiting list. Please print this packet along with a few Temporary Volunteer Registration and Release Liability Forms in case volunteers who are not on the roster show up to the harvest. This is available [http://www.salemharvest.org/Documents/Temporary%20Picker%20Registration%20and%20Release%20from%20Liability.pdf">here.

Write the text for the orientation or receive it from the Harvest Director and print copies to bring to the harvest. An outline of the orientation script can be downloaded [http://www.salemharvest.org/Documents/HarvestOrientation.pdf">here. Note that this is only an outline and must be customized for each particular harvest. In writing it, keep these points in mind:

  • Volunteers at orientation are usually eager to begin picking and it can be hard to focus their attention.
  • If there is too much unnecessary detail, they will miss the parts that are essential.
  • Repeat the points that are the most important.
  • Emphasize the points that are specifically about this site and this crop. If too much is just generic and they have heard it before, they will miss the parts that they have not heard before.

Assistants need to be told that their services are needed and appreciated. Due to past experience that assistants aren’t always punctual, we ask that all assistants arrive 20 minutes early for harvests with 25 or less pickers, 30 minutes early for harvests with 25 or more pickers. The same basic email can be sent to all assistants for the same harvest. The eMailer [http://www.salemharvest.org/MailAPI/eMailer.php] can be used to send email to just those volunteers who have indicated that they can assist. If you want to use your own email program, the [http://www.salemharvest.org/Utilities/EmailLists.php] Email Lists can produce a list of the names and email addresses for the assistants to copy and paste. A template for this email can be found on the Documents page andlinked from the Leaders Resources page. Please email assistants at least 8 hours before the start of a harvest.

Obtain Supplies for Backyard Harvests

If you will need orchard ladders for your harvest, contact the backyard harvest coordinator to arrange for assistance. Also, work with the backyard harvest coordinator to resource boxes for the donated produce. Boxes may be available at the storage container, at other leader’s homes or you may need to stop by a store to pick some up.

Hand-washing is required by MPFS at all harvests before picking. This includes using running (or poured) water, soap and drying with a dry cloth or paper towel. At backyard harvests, this could be as simple as a gallon of water, a bar of soap and a few towels to dry hands on.

Writing an orientation may be necessary for some backyard harvests. Follow the orientation writing notes in the section above.

The white canopy:
Provides weather protection and identifies the check in location.
As an iconic Salem Harvest symbol must be used at all large harvests.
Is always at the central storage location.
The harvest paperwork packet:
Can be printed right after the harvest is posted.
Has several formats that can be used depending on the type of harvest.
Lists all those volunteers who were on the waiting list but cancelled those slots.
The Marion Polk Food Share staff:
Are well-informed about what equipment is needed for the different kinds of harvests.
Will set mileage limits on the trucks that are used.
Are very cooperative and do their best to provide the containers that we need.