Because we are a cooperative and also because we are a large organization with a very small staff, we rely on members to pitch in to help us keep the FDC running smoothly. Two hours of cumulative volunteer time during each year is required of each member. When you volunteer, you help create the FDC community, meet new people, catch up with old friends, and share your ideas and passions. Though the most common way to volunteer is to sign up for a 2-hour slot at your depot location, there are many other options. Below is a list of ideas, but if you have something else in mind, please let us know!
Work at the Depot – Working at the depot is a great way to gain a deeper understanding of how the coop works. Opening shifts set up tents and tables and help unload when the truck arrives. In Marblehead there is a separate shift for helping to unload and organize the trucks before they go out to the satellite depots. Middle shifts guide members through the pick up process, pack delivery shares, restock the vegetables, share recipes, and introduce members to each other if possible. Closing shifts help break down tables and tents, pack everything back into the shed, or maybe make a final delivery. We use sign up genius to organize volunteers. Follow the links below to sign up for a shift at your depot.
Deliveries - Each member who lives in a connecting town can request one free delivery per season, $5 for each delivery thereafter. Members make the deliveries, which count as volunteer hours. If the delivery is on your way home, not really taking you out of your way, you may count it as a 15 minute volunteer effort. If the delivery takes longer, or you must drive further to make it, you may count it as a 30 minute volunteer effort, so making 4-8 deliveries during the season will fulfill your 2 hours volunteer requirement.
Deliver Produce to Food Pantries - Each week uncollected produce is delivered to local food pantries and soup kitchens at the close of depot hours. This ensures that nothing is wasted and helps those less fortunate. Check in with your depot coordinator to see if she needs help.
Newsletter/Recipe submissions - Submitting content for the newsletter and original recipes is appreciated and will count towards volunteer time. Are you passionate about kohlrabi or hakurei turnips? Share your cooking success stories! Another great option is a researched article about food security, farming, organic standards, adventures in cooking, farm visits, gardening or whatever you fancy that is in alignment with our mission. Again, keep in mind that the goal is to spend 2 hours but you are w
Photography – We can always use and greatly appreciate high resolution photos that can be used in the newsletter, on our website, or in marketing materials. We’d love pictures of (including but not limited to!) Produce at the depot, the depot in action (with permission of non-produce subjects), snap a shot of your share, or shots from one of our farms or dairies. Please submit photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Organize a field trip - Getting members out to local farms, dairies or the the woods to identify foliage is fun and informative. We could visit The Food Project for a weeding day, make a day trip to Mike's Maze in western MA, or enjoy an organized tour of a Trustees of Reservations property. If you are an enterprising member of the FDC would like to organize and advertise a field trip, let us know!
Offer a class in a Food Skill - Do you know how to pressure can or water bath can? Jams, jellies, salsa? Are you a baker? An expert in cooking with greens? Identify a kitchen space in your community (churches often allow several hour rentals of their certified kitchens), determine the costs involved (space, jars, vinegar, spices) and offer your time to volunteer, advertise (newsleter / facebook) and run the event. We have had a lot of fun and success with canning classes in the past. Email Julie@farmdirectcoop.org to coordinate.
Run a Kids’ Activity – Prepare and oversee a craft or activity for the younger members at the depot. Prints from peppers or potatoes, drawing a veggie still life, or offer to watch other parent’s children while they do their volunteer hours. We are open to suggestions.
Food or Craft Demo - Do you know just what to do with kale or the salad turnips? Running a food demo at the depot is a great way to showcase your talent for cooking and to meet the other members at your location. Or offer a session on pickling, fiber arts, or flower pounding at your home for a small number of members. What's your passion? Talk to your depot coordinator or email them to arrange a demo.
Drive to a farm - Occasionally we need someone to pick up asparagus, eggs, flowers, or other items before and during the season. Using your own car, enjoy a drive to Essex, Groton, or elsewhere. We typically offer something for the driver - a dozen eggs, a bundle of asparagus, a bouquet of flowers. Additionally, for longer drives (100 miles) we offer $25 for gas.
Ride on the Truck - The Western Route drives to the Pioneer Valley in western MA and leaves Marblehead/Salem around 5am, arriving back in Marblehead around 1pm (and continuing to Melrose before coming back to Salem). While this is quite a long day, this route gives a most complete understanding of what we do to get the goods to our members. The Eastern Route drives to nearby farms in Salisbury, Amesbury, Peabody, Concord, and Natick. This truck leaves a bit later in the morning, between 8 and 9am, also arriving back in Marblehead at 1pm for the truck split.
Serve on the Board - Our volunteer board meets monthly to make decisions about important FDC issues and oversees our finances, bylaws, and staffing. Scroll down and fill out our email form below for details.
Bonus - Everyone who fulfills their two-hour volunteer commitment will be entered in a drawing to win a winter share. Volunteer for four hours, get two entries – the more time you give, the more likely you are to win!
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