Health Forward foundation

Top 10 reasons to be an After the Harvest volunteer

We know with the recent pandemic, you may be feeling restless, helpless and uncertain about what to do next. Our commitment to the safety of our volunteers has always been and remains strong. Please read this blog for updates to the precautions and safety measures we’re putting in place for all volunteer activities.

Our work to provide healthy food to hungry people is essential and we need your help. Here are just a few reasons we think you’ll love becoming an After the Harvest volunteer!

1. Get more sunshine

Most of our volunteer activities involve gleaning which is done at farmers’ fields, local orchards, community gardens and farmers markets in the Greater Kansas City area. Fresh air, sunshine, digging in the dirt and harvesting produce are sure to put a smile on your face!

2. Learn how food is grown

The growers we work with are incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about feeding people the best quality food. See firsthand what a radish looks like before it ever reaches the grocery store, how to plant tomatoes or the best way to harvest blackberries.

3. Bring your kiddos!

Looking for an activity for the whole family? Kids and adults of all ages are welcome! We pride ourselves in working with Girl Scouts, students, families, home school groups and more!

4. Make a new friend

Our volunteers are friendly, service oriented, love being outside and come from all different backgrounds! The conversations we have and the stories we share in the field make us laugh and warm our hearts. Our goal is to build community and one of the best ways to do it is to volunteer together.

5. Get plugged in to the local food system

The food scene in Kansas City is one of the best. As an After the Harvest volunteer, you have a front row seat to what’s going on in the world of farm-to-table restaurants, nutrition, urban agriculture, food insecurity advocacy, reducing food waste and more! We are deeply rooted in our community and love sharing what we know with others!

6. Gain valuable, real-world experience

Wanting to add skills and experience to your resume? Look no further! From volunteer management, sustainability practices, nonprofit leadership, agriculture, nutrition and food systems management, there’s a plethora of opportunities to dig in and learn more!

7. It feels good to give back

The sense of accomplishment and generosity you’ll feel after volunteering with After the Harvest will have a lasting impact, we promise. Helping others can boost your morale and make you feel more connected to the community.

“Being able to save fresh produce that would otherwise go to waste and donate this produce to those in need is so rewarding. We’ve had the opportunity to chat with those we are bringing the food to and they are so thankful to be getting locally grown, fresh produce.”

-Elena Khoury

8. Taste test from the field

We glean delicious, nutritious food for our hungry neighbors in need. To prove that the healthiest can also taste the best, we encourage volunteers to take the taste test! (Berry and apple seasons are some of our favorite times to take a bite straight from the field)!

“My coworkers and I had a blast gleaning sweet potatoes last fall. The group created a new bond and worked really efficiently together. We were even allowed to take a fresh sweet potato home to try. “

-Lacey G.

9. Earn a free ATH T-Shirt

Volunteers love our Gleaning for Good and VEG Squad t-shirts. When you glean at least five times during the weekday in one season, or become a Produce Rescue Driver, you’ll receive a t-shirt of your own at our annual holiday volunteer appreciation party.

10. It’s fun!

Whether you volunteer as a Yambassador, Produce Rescue Driver, VEG Squad member, help out in the office or the field, we guarantee you’ll have fun! We need volunteers year round, but especially May-November. Sign up here to become an ATH Volunteer (don’t forget to bring your family, coworkers, or youth group). We can’t wait to meet you!

“Our staff participated in a gleaning as a team-building activity and send-off event for a staff member who was retiring. The entire staff had a wonderful time and it had a positive effect on our attitude and culture!”

– Karen G.