What do volunteers do at farmers markets recovery events?

You will meet the volunteer team at a designated time and place at the market. A Volunteer Glean Team Leader oversees the event and provides an orientation before the glean begins. Volunteers walk through the market with empty Food Forward boxes, distributing them to any produce vendors wishing to make a donation. The vendors are usually familiar with Food Forward and, if they have excess produce, will gladly donate it. There is usually a brief break to shop or eat, and then volunteers meet up again to collect the boxes full of fresh, delicious food! The donated produce is weighed, recorded (farmers get a tax deductible for their donations), and prepared for pick-up by our partner agencies. Once all of the boxes are collected and the food is picked up, your work here is done!


What do volunteers do at backyard fruit harvests?

Volunteers meet the Pick Leader at the designated time and receive an orientation on safe harvesting techniques. Depending on what we’re picking, we will supply fruit pickers, clippers, gloves, harvest bags and ladders, which volunteers use to pick as much fruit as possible. When the harvest wraps up, volunteers will help to load up a vehicle with boxes, pick up the equipment and, generally, leave the property as we found it.

Food Forward Fruit Pick


I just signed up to volunteer on your website! What happens next?

You’re on your way to fighting hunger and food waste with us! You will receive an email four days prior to the event you signed up for that has contact information and meet-up instructions, plus any additional details you may need. If you can no longer make it to the event you signed up for, it is important that you cancel no less than 72 hours before the event so we can find a volunteer to take your place.


Do I need to bring anything?

The majority of our produce recovery events take place outside so we always recommend bringing water and a hat. Please wear clothes you are comfortable in and close-toed shoes. Otherwise, we supply all equipment needed.


Do I need to transport any of the fruits or vegetables in my car?

Nope! We arrange transportation with the agency receiving the food or with the Event Leader.


What is the minimum age to volunteer?

5 for fruit picks and 12 for farmers market recovery events. Volunteers under 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian who registers for the event as well.


Can I bring my friend, family, group, or child?

We love having groups come out to volunteer with us. We do need each volunteer to register separately online so that we have an accurate count of volunteers and have every volunteer properly registered. You must use a different email address for each individual volunteer. If you are interested in volunteering with a large group (more than 5), click here.


What if my child doesn’t have an email address?

If you have already registered as a volunteer for an event and want to register your child as well, you can register them as a volunteer using a placeholder email address, like rick.n@noemail.com.


Why don’t volunteers get to take a little of the recovered food home?

While we are so appreciative of the hard work volunteers do to recover fresh produce, 100% of the food that is collected is given to local hunger relief agencies that are vetted by Food Forward. This allows us to provide full transparency to those donating produce to Food Forward, and ensures every piece is going to someone in need. If you’d like to learn more about who we donate to, please visit this page.


How do I know how much food I collected and where it went?

The event leader will be able to estimate how much food is being donated and can tell you which organizations are benefitting. You will also receive a follow-up thank you email with this information.


Can I complete my community service hours with Food Forward?

Absolutely. To view our upcoming volunteer events, please visit our Volunteer Calendar and register for an event that is convenient for you. Because our events have limited volunteers spots, they generally fill up at least a week in advance. We recommend scheduling your volunteer days at least one month before your community service hours are due in order to ensure you are able to register for your chosen events.


Will you sign my community service form for school?

Yes! Please bring the form with you and the Event Leader can sign it. If your school does not provide a form, you can email volunteer@foodforward.org after you volunteer to get your hours confirmed.


I want to get more involved! What do I do?

Great! Nearly all of our produce recovery events are powered by volunteers so we would love to have your help! Visit this page to learn more about our Event Leader positions!