Village Harvest is a nonprofit volunteer organization in Northern California whose mission is to provide food for people in need, promote sustainable use of urban resources, and preserve our agricultural heritage and skills. We organize and coordinate fruit harvesting, and provide education on fruit tree care, harvesting and food preservation.

In 2019 volunteers harvested more than 226,000 pounds of fruit for food banks to help people in need, and since our founding in 2001 we have picked and donated 3 million pounds to assist hundreds of thousands. Instead of going to waste abundant fruit becomes healthy food, and our volunteer harvests provide important life experiences for children and families, assistance for seniors, and community connection for a greater good.

History

Village Harvest was started in 2001 as a volunteer project of the Foundation for Global Community, 4-H Club and the Master Gardeners, combining interests in fruit preservation, gardening, and making good use of abundant fruit for the community. When our first community harvest event in Palo Alto, California, yielded 1,200 pounds of citrus for a food bank and smiles all around, we knew we were onto something good. That first year an emerging group of volunteers harvested about 5,000 pounds, and the organization was formally incorporated in March 2002. 

Since then we've grown to become one of the largest organizations of this type. With rapidly growing numbers of volunteers, homes, and recipients, we applied Silicon Valley technology and business skills to create the software and "virtual organization" that enable us to manage the thousands of homes and volunteers that now participate.

Village Harvest is a volunteer-powered organization, with over 1,200 individual volunteers now contributing their time and talents every year in harvesting, preserving, and education. Our People page has information on organization leaders.

Why?

A backyard fruit tree usually produces far more fruit than a household can use, and there is enough going to waste from backyards and farms to provide for our local community’s people in need. We address this food distribution problem by organizing volunteer teams to harvest backyard fruit and donate it to charitable food agencies and organizations. Our Fact Sheet (pdf) contains information for the Press and other organizations.

Programs

Our mission is to bring together neighbors and community organizations to provide food for the hungry, preserve our agricultural heritage and skills, and promote sustainable use of urban resources. We do this through the following:

  • Community Fruit Harvesting. Village Harvest organizes and coordinates volunteer harvesting teams to pick fruit from homes and small orchards which is distributed to food banks and food pantries to assist people in need.

  • Homeowner Education. Village Harvest provides information and referrals at no charge on fruit tree care, harvesting instruction, and where to take their excess fruit.

  • Food Preservation Education and Resources. Village Harvest volunteers provide training sessions, tastings, and recipes on using homegrown fruit to create jams and other preserved foods.

Who We Work With

Village Harvests works closely with food agencies and community groups throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. Some of our many relationships include:

  • Second Harvest of Silicon Valley
  • Community Services Agency of Mountain View and Los Altos
  • West Valley Community Services
  • Sunnyvale Community Services
  • St. Anthony's Padua Dining Room, Menlo Park
  • Sacred Heart Community Service, San Jose
  • St. Joseph's Family Center, Gilroy