- What do I bring and wear to a harvest event?
- Are my children or youth organization allowed to join in the fun?
- Can members of parent-teen organizations join a harvest?
- Can I arrive late to a harvest? May I leave early?
- May I bring my dog or pet to a harvest?
- How does Village Harvest select and confirm volunteers for popular events?
1. What do I bring and wear to a harvest event?
A: Shirt with sleeves, long pants and covered shoes.
Suggested: Long sleeves to protect yourself from branches, comfortable shoes and clothing in layers, sun cover, gloves, and a bag or box to take fruit home.
Optional: Hand pruners
2. Are my children or youth organization allowed to join in on the fun?
A: Yes! We encourage families and students to join, but how many children we can have and how old they need to be depends upon what we're harvesting. Please look for the Minimum Age in the event description for the specific requirements.
Many of the summer fruit orchards (late June - August) are fairly short and harvested without ladders. During that time we invite families and youth organizations to join. During citrus season (December - July) we encourage high school students and a few well supervised younger children. Persimmons (November) are the most strenuous fruit to harvest so we require volunteers to be high school age and older. Cherries (early June) are harvested on ladders so volunteers must be 16 years and older.
All children must have a signed Volunteer Liability Release and Parent Consent signed by their parent. If you have not volunteered before or do not have one on file, adults may review and sign this electronically on the website, including giving consent for their children. Beginning May 2020 all waivers must be submitted in advance before a harvest; on-site sign in or paper forms have been eliminated for coronavirus safety.
Children 16 and above:
- Must be supervised by an adult to use ladders.
- Must come with their own transportation.
Children 7-16 are welcome at some events (please Contact Us if it's not indicated on the schedule):
- Must be supervised by an adult at least 3:1.
- Must come with their own transportation.
- May not be on ladders. Children under 16 are welcome to use the fruit pickers, harvest fruit from the ground, help sort and carry fruit.
3. Can members of parent-teen organizations join a harvest?
A: Many parent-teen groups volunteer with us and we welcome your organization. Many of our harvests have parent-teen volunteer limits so we can share the space with all our individual and family volunteers - this information is included in the event details posted to our calendar. Minimum age requirements for each harvest can also be found in the event description. Volunteering as a parent-teen duo only requires a single event sign up but it must list the names and ages of each volunteer younger than 18.
4. Can I arrive late to a harvest? Leave early?
A. It is important that our volunteers arrive on time to receive orientation and harvest instructions for each unique event. For some harvests it may be OK to leave early; please contact us in advance when signing up to check.
5. May I bring my dog or pet to a harvest?
A: We love animals, too, but please leave your pets at home and do not bring them to our harvests. We want to be respectful of home or orchard owner preferences, ensure all volunteers have a great experience, and comply with health and food safety codes.
6. How does Village Harvest select and confirm volunteers for popular events?
A: Harvests may have many more people signing up to volunteer than there are spaces available; it's common for us to have 50 volunteers sign up for 15 spaces, and organizers must make choices about who to confirm. Harvest openings are limited by the amount of fruit expected, size of property, parking, equipment, and the number of leaders available.
As a reflection of our values of community and sharing, our goal is to include as many unique individuals as possible, and for each harvest to have a diverse mix of experienced volunteers, new volunteers, and ages from individuals, families, and group members. To fairly share openings and give everyone a turn:
- Volunteer openings are not strictly "first come, first served" but consider many factors.
- Sign ups within the first 24, sometimes 36 hours after posting are considered to be made at the same time, rather than based on who can respond most quickly.
- Volunteers who have participated recently in a similar harvest will have lower priority, and volunteers who were declined or wait-listed recently will have higher priority. And we rotate through chapters of parent-teen service organizations (e.g. NCL, YMSL) so all will have a chance over time.
- Past participation may be considered; volunteers who have cancelled frequently or did not show up for harvests without explanation will be lower priority.
- We usually only allow groups or larger parties (4 or more) at events which can handle larger numbers of people.
We must also reserve spaces for harvest leaders, drivers, and assistants; pitching in is a great way to join more harvests! (see Volunteer Opportunities).