Harvest Leader Manual

  Harvest: leading large harvests

Property Owner: Arrive early enough to set up and if possible, to let the property owner know that you are there. Answer any questions and attend to any other issues that need to be resolved with the property owner. Often, the harvest director will arrive with you to provide introductions and/ or further instruction.

Set-up: Together with your co-leader and assistants, set up the Merced County Gleaning directional signs, intake table, hand washing station and donation area according to the Harvest Map and Harvest Plan sent to you by the harvest director.

Harvest Assistants: Welcome harvest assistants as they arrive and assign them a task and familiarize them with their responsibilities. It is common for circumstances to have changed between the plan and the harvest, so flexibility and problem solving with everyone involved is often necessary. Harvest assistants are an important part of our volunteer team so we want them to feel welcome and useful. Be sure to supervise them throughout the process and be available for questions.

Supervise: Actively monitor the harvest by keeping an eye out for safe use of ladders, adequate supervision of children, protection of the property and reasonable quality of produce picked. It can be tempting as harvest leader to dive into the picking yourself, and this is possible for smaller harvests. For larger ones it is better to circulate to monitor the big picture of the flow of pickers and produce to help solve bottlenecks as they arise. Make a note of any problems encountered and any individuals of concern on the Post-Harvest Summary or report to harvest director.

Medical incidents: The rule to follow for medical incidents is “If it requires more than a band-aid, get professional medical help.” This may mean calling 911.

The harvest leader:
Should get into the field or orchard along with the pickers to help set an example.
Is the one person at a harvest who can have the best view of the overall flow of produce and pickers.
Has little to do after orientation if the preparations have been thorough.
Harvest assistants:
Usually are experienced and know what to do without needing any direction.
Are most comfortable when they get good instructions about their assignments
Can be expected to notice when they are needed for their assigned shifts.
Property owners:
Are always present at harvests.
Should be encouraged to be involved in all phases of the harvest.
May raise issues during the harvest that were not covered in the planning.