Food Forward Blog
We Are Hiring a Volunteer Coordinator!

POSITION: Volunteer Coordinator (Part-time position with the possibility to become full-time in 3 – 6 months)

POSITION OVERVIEW:

The Volunteer Coordinator will report to the Volunteer Manager. This position provides an opportunity to become deeply involved with a diverse group of people in the urban food justice community, while working for a prominent and growing nonprofit. The Volunteer Coordinator will be responsible for ensuring Food Forward’s 100 volunteer powered food recovery events each month are fully staffed, while handling volunteer inquiries, logistics, providing support and implementing methods of outreach. Start date of January 5, 2015

QUALIFICATIONS:

The ideal candidate will have an interest in hunger and food justice issues, along with an ability to work, lead and communicate with a large, diverse group of volunteers. We are looking for an extremely detail-oriented person who can handle a substantial amount of correspondence. He / she can work comfortably coordinating the volunteer needs of our 100 (and growing) volunteer events, of varying size, each month across Los Angeles and Ventura counties. This candidate is extremely personable and able to communicate and lead volunteers with various personalities and temperaments. The volunteer program is constantly changing to meet Food Forward’s growth in food recovery efforts so this person needs to be adaptable and creative about methods of volunteer outreach. The Volunteer Coordinator is the face of Food Forward at community events therefore being well-versed and well-spoken to attract new volunteers is key. A collaborative spirit, a willingness to attend regular outdoor volunteer events (sometimes on weekends) and a knowledge of LA geography are all essential!

CORE RESPONSIBILITIES:

  • Coordinating volunteers for 100 Backyard Harvest and Farmers Market Recovery Events each month

  • Acting as the main point of contact and support for volunteers

  • Maintaining, updating and tracking a database of 7000+ volunteers

  • Listing and managing upcoming volunteer events on VolunteerMatch, LA Works and community and university boards

  • Managing online volunteer registration

  • Collecting and maintaining accurate volunteer metrics

  • Researching groups and community events for volunteer outreach

  • Representing Food Forward at community and speaking events

  • Cultivating and fostering long lasting relationships with volunteers

  • Frequent written communication in emails, postings and documents

MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS:

  • Bachelors Degrees (preferably in a related field)

  • Strong people skills and public speaking experience

  • Strong writing skills

  • Experience in working with volunteers

  • Experience in managing large numbers of people

  • A passion for food justice and community building

  • Skilled in networking and growing partnerships

  • Ability to communicate with various populations

  • A flexible team player who is able to work well under pressure and time constraints

  • Knowledge of Southern California Geography

  • Savvy in WordPress, social media, Vertical Response, Excel and Google Docs

  • PR experience a plus!

  • A valid drivers license

  • Willingness to work on weekends or after hours

  • Able to lift 40-60lbs

Hourly Wage: $15.00

HOW TO APPLY:

Send a cover letter in the body of the email and attach your resume in a PDF version to info@foodforward.org. The subject line should read, Volunteer Coordinator – (Your Name). No phone calls please. Please follow these instructions to ensure that we process your application. Submissions are due by Monday, December 8, 2014.

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Even in a Notorious Drought, There is a Grey Lining

Why Greywater is Actually Green and Many Other Reasons Why We “Love That Dirty Water”

Greywater.  Or Gray Water.  In case you haven’t heard (you’re not alone), greywater is water you just used from your bathroom sink, shower, tub, or washing machine.  Looking past the ubiquitous connotation that this liquid is “dirty”, greywater touts highly beneficial, economical irrigation for basic landscape needs.

Greywater may, and probably does, contain traces of dirt, hair, grease, or general household cleaning products. It is NOT water that comes from your toilet or has ever come into contact with feces or washing diapers.   Also, water from the dishwasher should be avoided, as many common detergents are laden with sodium, which is harmful to many ecological systems.

You may not realize it, but we all use A LOT of water.  In 2013, the average California household used 360 gallons of water a day, with a whopping 170 gallons coming from indoor use.  While the majority of this water comes from toilet flushes (you can use greywater to pour into your tank and save a flush), approximately 107 gallons are coming from greywater sources; providing an opportunity for savings and promoting water justice.

Source: http://www.buildinggreenfutures.com/services/graywater/

The key to greywater use is knowing where and how to use it.   Fruit trees, bushes, berry patches, shrubs, and large annuals love greywater as long as non-toxic, biodegradable products are used.  Deep waterings from a laundry line promote strong root growth.  For health reasons, we do not recommend allowing greywater to come into contact with the fruit/produce itself, so root or leafy vegetables or any subterranean food would be discouraged. However, watering fruit trees with greywater is a perfect fit!

So how much would a system set you back?  The cost of greywater systems varies on how simple or complex the plumbing is, how large your yard is, and who is doing the installation. On the simple systems, much of the work is digging: digging mulch basins, and digging trenches to bury pipe. For tight budgets, labor costs can be greatly reduced if you are willing to do the digging yourself, or find some eager friends or family who want to support greywater installations (and learn in the process!).

These are some rough average costs:

Laundry to Landscape- Materials only $100-$250, Full installation $700-$2,000

Branched drain- Materials only $200-$400 Full installation $800-$3,000

Pumped system-Materials only $400-$600 Full installation $1,000-$3,000

So before you head off and start washing your dishes in the shower or hacking into your laundry line, do a little research and soul searching to see if greywater is right for you.

Article by Matthew Lorton, Food Forward Volunteer and avid food and beverage writer.

For more information regarding greywater check out:

http://greywateraction.org/

http://www.greywater.com/

http://oasisdesign.net/greywater/

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Veggie of the Month: Spaghetti Squash

It’s Time to Start Thinking About Spaghetti Squash

The name Spaghetti Squash, or as we prefer to call it “Squaghetti”, derives its name from the uniquely textured flesh. Spaghetti squash is a yellow, mildly flavored winter squash, with a fun oblong shape. After cooking and running a folk through it, its flesh separates into a bevy of spaghetti-like strands. It is the ideal substitute for pasta, offering a low-carb, vitamin rich alternative to bleached noodles or high-gluten flour.  Squash in general is very healthy for you; chock full of vitamin A, potassium, and heart-healthy omega 3’s, winter squash should be a welcomed guest at your dining table this season.

Feeling Ambitious?  Try Growing Your Own!

Starting from Seed

Spaghetti squash need a long growing season (~100 days), and warm sunny days and that includes warmth at planting time. We recommend waiting at least a week after the last frost occurs.

Growing Instructions

Keep your plants watered, and weed-free while the leaves are developing. Once the wide leaves are fully developed, they will start to shade their surrounding soil and keep the weeds out.

After the peak of the summer, you should remove any new blossoms (check out our favorite recipe here, courtesy of dolly and oatmeal) that your squash vines produce. There won’t be enough time left for them to mature and the plant’s resources would be better used growing the already-developing squash on the vine.

Due to the long growing time for squash, they can be prone to rot or decay as they rest on the ground.  This is easily remedied with a small lid or plate to rest the squash on.

Harvest

Spaghetti squash are quite large, each individual squash can grow to be around 4 pounds at peak. Each plant will produce between 4-6 squash…unfortunately they can’t be harvested small/early like zucchini or summer squash. They don’t develop that way. Spaghetti squash (all winter squash actually) need to fully mature before harvesting.

A tried and true method to tell if your squash is ready is to push your fingernail into the outside skin. The skin should be tough enough to withstand your nail. If it punctures, your squash need more time. Depending on your climate, another sign is that you should harvest your squash when the vines start to wither.

Health Benefits

  • Other than the above nutrients of spaghetti squash, it also contains omega-3 essential fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids. While omega-3 fatty acids help prevent heart diseases, inflammation occasioned by arthritis and different types of cancers, omega-6 fatty acids are ideal for promoting proper brain function. Omega – 6 has a variety of minerals and vitamins, which are essential for proper functioning of your body.
  • Some of the recent conducted health studies have proven that spaghetti squash helps reduce the risk of prostate cancer
  • Spaghetti squash is rich in beta carotene, which is essential in preventing atherosclerosis. It also has numerous health benefits especially for people with insulin deficiency.
  • The fact that spaghetti squash has a lot of potassium makes it the ideal diet for people with blood pressure. It can amazingly lower high blood pressure if consumed over time. The folate contained in the spaghetti squash helps in strengthening the walls of blood vessels besides enhancing blood circulation.
  • Pregnant women are encouraged to consume spaghetti squash more frequently since the folate contained in it helps in preventing birth defects which can occur when a woman is delivering the baby.

Article written by Matthew Lorton, Food Forward Volunteer and Avid Food & Beverage Writer

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Volunteer of the Month: Gunther Schulz

Say hello to October’s Food Forward Volunteer of the Month: Gunther Schulz aka Mr. Glean!

Gunther came onto the scene last spring and blew us away with his powerhouse picking! Since then, he has attended nearly every fruit harvest in the San Gabriel Valley and began leading picks earlier this summer. Gunther is so dedicated that he is also currently volunteering as an assistant for the Backyard Harvest Program, with a focus on our SGV expansion. He works incredibly hard and always lends a helping hand, whether he’s driving a FF vehicle or carrying bucket after bucket of oranges, and still manages to crack jokes! His positive attitude and genuine kindness make him a true Super Volunteer. And, check out that sweet t-shirt he rocks! Read more about Gunther below.

So tell me, how did you get started with Food Forward?

I first found Food Forward when searching for an opportunity to learn more about local food access and distribution for a class I was taking. My major field focuses on Earth, Society, and Sustainability and food security is a topic that interests me greatly. When I read about Food Forward, I knew I had found the perfect opportunity to not only learn more, but to be a part of something important and meaningful.

What are some other projects you’re working on that you’d like to share?

As I mentioned, I am currently working on my BS degree at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. In addition to food security, I am interested in water conservation and energy consumption issues related to food production. I think it is important to be aware of our footprint and to work toward sustainability. I am also a stay at home dad to a beautiful daughter with special needs. She is really what makes all of this so important as she makes everything better and has made me realize that what I do impacts others. I want to make her proud.

What is your favorite memory working with Food Forward?

I enjoy all of my memories of Food Forward. I think the best feeling is when I hear how many pounds of food we have gleaned at the end of a pick and knowing how many people will be able to eat fresh and healthy food because of it.

Any wisdom you’d like to share with the world about life?

Be present, take responsibility, work hard, and all things will work out. It may not be the way you want it to but it is usually the way that gets us out of our comfort zone and expands our horizons. Life is sometimes hard, but the struggles are what make us better people.

Read More: Posted in Community Action, Los Angeles Volunteer, Uncategorized, Urban Fruit Gleaning, Urban Hunger
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Food Forward is Hiring a Backyard Harvest Coordinator!

POSITION OVERVIEW: The Program Coordinator will report to the Backyard Harvest Program Manager. This is an opportunity to become deeply involved in the urban food justice community, while working for a prominent and growing nonprofit. This person will work with property owners who have fruit to donate by gathering essential harvesting and logistical information for our database to organize and coordinate picks. Tasks will include communicating with property owners who have fruit trees, scheduling harvesting events, and coordinating event details for each harvest. The Program Coordinator will also play a key role in managing the 50+ Super Volunteers and be the main point of contact. This position is Full Time

CORE RESPONSIBILITIES:

• Managing & communicating with 40-50 Pick Leaders and homeowners to schedule and coordinate 50-60+ unique harvesting events every month
• Main point of contact for homeowners, receiving agencies, and Super Volunteers
• Maintaining relationships with 1000+ homeowners and with 150+ receiving agencies (food pantries or donation centers)
• Managing and improving a database of over 2000 properties and 1600 harvesting events (since 2009)
• Training, overseeing, and onboarding Super Volunteers: Pick Leaders and Property Scouts
• Frequent written and verbal communication with property owners and receiving agencies
• Updating our WordPress site and database

QUALIFICATIONS:

Ideal candidate will have a strong interest in hunger and food justice issues. We are looking for an extremely detail-oriented person who enjoys organizing and collecting data and information. He/she can work efficiently and comfortably on a website to manage large amounts of detailed information. The candidate should be personable and able to communicate with various personalities and temperaments. The Backyard Harvest Program is constantly evolving, and the ideal candidate will be able to adapt and support the continued growth of the program. The candidate must have a strong knowledge of local fruit tree varietals and fruit tree care. The candidate should be highly versed in Los Angeles and SFV geography.

Minimum requirements:
• Bachelors Degree in a related field (Environment Science, Urban Planning, Public Policy)
• Proven effective data management skills
• Strong people and public speaking skills
• Experience in event planning
• Ability to lift 40-60lb boxes repeatedly
• Ability to communicate with various temperaments and populations
• A flexible team player who is able to work well under pressure and time constraints
• Experience working in a fast paced environment- start up or non-profit desired
• Knowledge of locally grown tree varieties, including harvest seasons, tree size and shape, fruit qualities
• Strong knowledge of LA geography, neighborhoods, and streets
• Experience in food justice work desired
• Proactive and willingness to improve on program strategies, workflows, and documents
• Strong knowledge and comfort with WordPress, Facebook, and other Social Media
• A valid drivers license
• Willingness and available to work some weekends

Salary: DOE

How to Apply:

Send a cover letter in the body of the email and attach your resume in a PDF version to info@foodforward.org. The subject line should read, BYH Program Coordinator – (Your Name). No phone calls please. Please follow these instructions to insure that we process your application.

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lbs. of fruit picked to date

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