To promote the health and well-being of everyone in our community, we have paused Event Leader trainings for the time being. Please join our newsletter for updates on how we are responding to this situation and how you can help.

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Food Forward has plenty of opportunities to sign-up for one-day volunteer activities and, if you’re seeking on-going or leadership opportunities, we’ve got you covered there too!

 

VOLUNTEER EVENT LEADERS

If you’ve been to a fruit pick or a farmers market recovery event, you probably met one of our incredibly dedicated Super Volunteers! These trained Event Leaders coordinate on-site volunteers and ensure that every step of the farmers market glean or backyard harvest runs safely and smoothly. We are always looking for new Event Leaders at fruit harvests and farmers markets.

 

To learn about becoming a Pick Leader with our Backyard Harvest program, visit this page.

 

To learn about becoming a Glean Team Leader with our Farmers Market Recovery program, visit this page.

 

Apply Now!

 

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Food Forward Pick Leader

To get started as an Event Leader:

1) Volunteer at two backyard harvests or farmers markets.

2) Complete an Event Leader Application Form. This is a fillable PDF form that you can download, save, and send to volunteer@foodforward.org.

3) Attend one of our Event Leader Training Sessions, complete a brief Background Check, and sign the Food Forward Event Leader Agreement.

4) Shadow one of our experienced Event Leaders at a volunteer event, then lead a volunteer event with an experienced Event Leader shadowing you.

5) Begin leading volunteer teams on your own!

 

To learn more about other volunteer opportunities and ways to get involved, click on the links below.


Event Leaders

Who: Glean Team Leaders (GTLs) are trained volunteers who lead teams of other volunteers at Farmers Market “gleaning” events. If you are passionate about fighting hunger & food waste in your own community, are detail-oriented, and enjoy working in small teams, you will love being a Glean Team Leader!

You must be at least 16 years old to train as a GTL, and volunteers 16 - 17 years old must have a parent or legal guardian who trains and volunteers with them.

Why: We rely on our Glean Team Leaders to donate thousands of pounds of fruits and vegetables every month from our 25 weekly Farmers Market Recovery events. A GTL and the volunteers will recover and donate over 500 pounds of food at one average Farmers Market Recovery event.

Joining our Event Leader community also connects you with folks from all walks of life who are passionate about food access, food waste, sustainability, and agriculture. You’ll have a regular opportunity to make a big impact, and you’ll get to know local farmers and local produce in a whole new way.

What: Glean Team Leaders lead small groups of volunteers at Farmers Markets across Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. You’ll meet up with the participating volunteers, distribute empty boxes to participating vendors, collect the food donations at the end of the market, weigh and record the donations, and prepare the produce for pick-up by one of Food Forward’s partner hunger-relief receiving agencies.

You may need to lift boxes weighing up to 40 pounds, and you’ll need a smartphone to record donations or send us a photograph of the record. Food Forward provides liability insurance for the event and takes care of recruiting and coordinating all volunteers.

When: You can set your own schedule based on the date and time of the market you’d like to lead at. We ask Glean Team Leaders to commit to volunteering at 6 market events over the course of a year. Of course, if you’d like to volunteer more, we’d be thrilled. Shifts vary from 1 ½ hours - 3 hours, depending on the farmers market.

Where: We “glean” produce donations at 20 farmers markets in Los Angeles County and 5 markets in Ventura County. You can choose to lead at one market or multiple market locations.

How: Depending on your availability, it takes about 2-3 months to complete your Glean Team Leader training. Here are the steps you’ll need to take:

  • Volunteer at two farmers market gleans.
  • Complete our short & simple Event Leader Application Form and email it to volunteer@foodforward.org, and complete a brief Background Check (we’ll cover the cost).
  • Shadow one of our experienced Glean Team Leaders at a glean, then lead a glean with an experienced Glean Team Leader shadowing you.
  • Attend an in-office training within the first 6-9 months of leading.
  • Begin leading events on your own!



Who: Pick Leaders are trained volunteers who lead fruit harvesting events, small and large, all across Southern California. Do you like fighting hunger & food waste in your own community, making your own volunteer schedule, and working outside? You may love being a Pick Leader!

You must be at least 16 years old to train as a Pick Leader, and volunteers 16 - 17 years old must have a parent or legal guardian who trains and volunteers with them.

Why: We often have more fruit-filled properties across LA and Ventura counties than we are able to harvest. Without more Pick Leaders, that fruit will go to waste! A Pick Leader and volunteers will harvest hundreds of pounds of food to donate at an average harvest event.

Joining our Event Leader community also connects you with folks from all walks of life who are passionate about food access, food waste, sustainability, and the outdoors. You’ll have a regular opportunity to make a big impact, and you’ll get to meet some great people and trees along the way.

What: Pick Leaders can choose to harvest trees by themselves or lead groups of volunteers in harvesting fruit. Food Forward communicates with homeowners and managers of private properties, parks, farms, and orchards who are interested in donating their fruit. We’ll help you identify a property and a time that works for you to harvest. You just need to bring some equipment (which we’ll give you), meet up with any other participating volunteers and help them get started, and harvest as much fruit as possible!

You will need to lift boxes weighing up to 40 pounds, and you’ll need reliable access to a vehicle to transport harvesting equipment. Food Forward provides liability insurance for the event and takes care of recruiting and coordinating all volunteers.

When: Extremely flexible! You can let us know what days and times you prefer to volunteer, but we ask Pick Leaders to commit to volunteering at 6 harvest events over the course of a year. Of course, if you’d like to volunteer more, we’d be thrilled. Harvest events take 3-4 hours in total, including setting up before and wrapping up after.

Where: We harvest fruit (and some veggies too) all across Los Angeles and Ventura Counties, although we do have some areas with more need than others. We also occasionally harvest from neighboring counties as well. There are lots of opportunities for you to volunteer close to home, or pick a destination you’ve been wanting to visit!

How: Depending on your availability, it takes about 2-3 months to complete your Pick Leader training. Here are the steps you’ll need to take:

  • Volunteer at two Backyard Harvest events.
  • Complete our short & simple Event Leader Application Form and email it to volunteer@foodforward.org, and complete a brief Background Check (we’ll cover the cost).
  • Have a brief introductory phone call with a Food Forward staff member.
  • Attend one in-person training session.
  • Shadow one of our experienced Pick Leaders at a harvest, then lead with an experienced Pick Leader shadowing you. After that, you’ll start picking on your own!



POSITION: Community Ambassador
HOURS: 5 - 10 hours a month; hours can be completed at home, in the field or out of our North Hollywood office

Position Overview: A Community Ambassador is the grassroots outreach volunteer that links Food Forward and its mission to their local neighborhood. Community Ambassadors act as the Food Forward face and voice to local government, educational, religious, public, and private groups and institutions through presentations, networking, electronic communication, or tabling at events.  This opportunity is perfect for the social activist who wants to manage their own schedule independently and feels comfortable with public speaking, research, and securing community involvement with Food Forward's programs.

Duties:
• Increase the presence of Food Forward and its programs through localized outreach methods
• Research potential volunteer and program leads
• Communicate with local groups, individuals and organizations about Food Forward’s work
• Represent Food Forward at community events by tabling
• Prepare and execute presentations
• Record outreach progress and potential leads on a spreadsheet
• Work with the Volunteer Manager to schedule events and brainstorm new methods of outreach
• Distribute flyers to homeowners and local businesses

Training:
• Attend a fruit pick and farmers market recovery event as a general volunteer
• One training session with Food Forward staff at our office in North Hollywood
• Shadow a current Community Ambassador twice before representing Food Forward on your own at outreach events

Focus Communities:
• Westchester
• Calabasas
• Pacific Palisades
• Mar Vista
• SGV
• Inland Valley
• Granada Hills
• Ventura County (Simi Valley, Ojai, Ventura, Thousand Oaks)
• Santa Barbara County (Goleta and Montecito)
• West LA
• Long Beach
• or anywhere you are!




COMMITMENT: Co-lead 1 market shift (5 - 6 hours), once every two months, for a minimum of 6 months

POSITION OVERVIEW: 

In collaboration with Food Forward and partner organization staff, Produce Pick-Up Leaders ensure that produce donated from the Wholesale Produce Market is distributed in a fun, safe, organized and efficient manner. This highly rewarding leadership position allows us to support our community-based partners in South Los Angeles, who provide fresh produce for free to people who may have limited or no access to it otherwise. Leaders are responsible for orienting and training volunteers, including demonstrating how to sort, process, and distribute produce. Additional responsibilities include timekeeping, equipment organization, and completing brief “Event Reports,” a form we use to collect information on equipment needs and volunteers. Leaders should be comfortable lifting boxes weighing up to 50 pounds.

What you will learn:

  • Leadership skills for directing a diverse array of volunteers
  • How to engage individuals and groups in food justice work
  • The ins and outs of a pop-up produce distribution
  • Firsthand experience with food security work in South LA
  • Organizational and decision-making skills in fast-paced situations

 

TRAINING AND REQUIREMENTS:

  • Volunteer at 4 produce pick-ups
  • Review the Produce Pick-Up Leader training manual with staff as needed
  • Complete 3 in-field training sessions: Produce Pick-Up Leaders in training are required to shadow a current leader at two distributions, and are then be shadowed by a trained leader
  • Availability to co-lead a minimum of 1 market shift (5-6 hours) every 2 months, for a minimum of 6 months
  • Assist with set up, volunteer management during event, and breakdown/clean up
  • Check inventory after event
  • Submit (if new) an Event Leader Application, Event Leader Agreement, and Mutual Non-Disclosure Agreement (you do not need to resubmit these forms if you are already an Event Leader for other programs, such as Farmers Market Recovery or Backyard Harvest)
  • Submit your Online Background Check

 

QUALIFICATIONS:

Ideal candidate will have a strong interest in hunger and food justice issues, in addition to a dedication to serving in the community. This volunteer should be detail-oriented, personable and feel comfortable in a leadership position. He/she should enjoy working with diverse groups of people and sharing Food Forward’s work to inspire continued volunteerism. Ideal candidates will bring a positive energy and commit to cultivating a safe and welcoming space at each distribution. Candidate should have access to a vehicle or ability to drive a Food Forward vehicle.* 

*You will not be expected to transport materials to/from site.


volunteer@foodforward.org


Volunteers

POSITION OVERVIEW: The Farmers Market Recovery Program Volunteer Driver is responsible for restocking our storages for market gleans, transporting produce to hunger relief agencies that do not have the capacity to pick-up, and delivering necessary gleaning equipment to volunteers. The Volunteer Driver is required to have a clean driving record and be able to comfortably lift boxes of produce weighing 40-50 pounds each, frequently in large numbers. A driver with their own vehicle is preferred, but the option to use a transit vehicle which is located in North Hollywood is available.

The Volunteer Driver responsibilities are as follows:

(+) Picking up full boxes of gleaned produce from farmers markets and transporting them to hunger relief agencies (i.e. food pantries/banks, senior centers, homeless shelters) located within a 1-10 mile radius
(+) Restocking different market storages (most are on-site at the market) with boxes and any other necessary gleaning materials (markers, aprons, etc)
(+) Dropping off necessary gleaning equipment to volunteer event leaders including boxes, keys to storage, etc

HOURS: ~30-90 minutes, 1-4 times per month as needed. Availability on Saturdays and Sundays a plus, but weekdays are also helpful.

COMPENSATION: This position is an unpaid volunteer position

FARMERS MARKET RECOVERY PROGRAM OVERVIEW: Farmers Market Recovery Program began in 2012 and administers a volunteer-based, systematized collection of produce that would otherwise go to waste from farmers at the end of markets. Of the produce gleaned, 100% of is donated to hunger relief agencies serving those in need within 5 to 10 miles of the market. To date, the FMR program has collected over 3.2 million pounds of fresh produce! For each market, we’ve received the support of the Market Manager, vetted local receiving agencies and developed relationships with farmers. We currently collect produce at 25 markets across Southern California

Drivers are needed in the following communities: San Fernando Valley, South Bay, San Gabriel Valley, Westside

APPLY: Let us know you're interested by filling out our Driver Interest Form online.




POSITION OVERVIEW: The Ventura County Volunteer Driver is responsible for restocking our storages for market gleans and backyard picks, transporting produce to hunger relief agencies that do not have the capacity to pick-up, and delivering necessary gleaning equipment and boxes to volunteers and DIY fruit donors. The Volunteer Driver is required to have a clean driving record and be able to comfortably lift boxes of produce weighing 40-50 pounds each, frequently in large numbers. A driver with their own vehicle is preferred, but the option to use a vehicle which is located in Ventura is available.

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, our need for volunteer drivers in Ventura County is higher than ever, particularly in the following areas: Ventura, Ojai, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Santa Rosa Valley

 
The Volunteer Driver responsibilities are as follows:

  • Picking up full boxes of gleaned produce from backyard harvests, farms, orchards, rapid response hubs, and transporting them to hunger relief agencies (i.e. food pantries/banks, senior centers, homeless shelters) located within a 1-10 mile radius.
  • Dropping off necessary gleaning equipment to volunteer event leaders and fruit donors including boxes, harvesting equipment, etc.
  • Comply with our additional safety procedures during COVID-19 

 

HOURS: ~30-90 minutes, 1-4 times per month as needed. Availability on Saturdays and Sundays a plus, but weekdays are also helpful.

 

REQUIREMENTS: 

  • Ability to lift and carry boxes of produce weighing up to 55 lbs repeatedly from ground to vehicles and over unstable ground 
  • Ability to sit, stand, walk, climb stairs and ladders, bend, lift, twist, kneel, crouch, crawl, pull, push, carry,  grasp, reach and stoop as needed
  • Ability to load equipment such as but not limited to 6 and 8-foot ladders, picker poles, hand trucks
  • Good geographical knowledge of Ventura and Santa Barbara counties

 

COMPENSATION: This position is unpaid

 

ABOUT THE BACKYARD HARVEST PROGRAM:  Volunteers pick fruit from trees on private properties and public spaces, and 100% of what is collected is donated to local hunger relief agencies.The program operates across portions of Los Angeles, Ventura, and Santa Barbara Counties and engages thousands of volunteers per year. Property owners receive a tax-deductible receipt for their donations and have the added benefit of ensuring that their uneaten fruit is being donated to those in need in the community. Together, volunteers and fruit donors share the experience of picking locally grown fruit that would otherwise go to waste, and distributing this excess to benefit the food insecure in our communities.  

FARMERS MARKET RECOVERY PROGRAM OVERVIEW: Farmers Market Recovery Program began in 2012 and administers a volunteer-based, systematized collection of produce that would otherwise go to waste from farmers at the end of markets. Of the produce gleaned, 100% of is donated to hunger relief agencies serving those in need within 5 to 10 miles of the market. To date, the FMR program has collected over 3.2 million pounds of fresh produce! For each market, we’ve received the support of the Market Manager, vetted local receiving agencies and developed relationships with farmers. We currently collect produce at 25 markets across Southern California.

 

HOW TO APPLY: Please email ally@foodforward.org to let us know you are interested in this volunteer position. Please include your email, phone number, and the region(s) that you live in and are willing to assist with driving in.