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The Bigger Picture


I’ve only been working as Volunteer Coordinator at Left Foot Organics for a month, and since I came aboard at the busiest time of year amidst personnel and administrative changes, it has been a bit hectic keeping up with volunteer groups that were already on the calendar, taking over the social media management and mastering a pretty steep learning curve. So to better understand the big picture of how the farm operates, and more specifically how volunteers fit into that picture, I rolled up my sleeves and dug into last year’s statistics. I will confess, I am more comfortable digging into a row of cabbage or squash, but I will have plenty of opportunities for that in the coming weeks.

I have learned that Left Foot Organics hosts a variety of community groups and organizations each year as well as the multitude of  individuals who come to help in the fields while learning about organic farming procedures and making a direct connection with their food supplier. Together with our Growers and youth Growing Partners, volunteers fill out our workforce to ensure that our crops are seeded, transplanted, weeded, side-dressed, and harvested to bring our certified organic produce to our CSA shareholders, two farmers markets, and to the Thurston County Food Bank each week.

Did you know that in 2011:

  • Volunteers provided nearly half of our farm labor and close to one third of our total labor force
  • Volunteers donated over 5200 hours of work to LFO
  • More than 500 adults with and without disabilities volunteered at LFO
  • Nine adults with developmental disabilities worked over 3,400 paid hours
  • LFO employed six youth from rural Thurston County
  • Nearly 200 youth under age 18 volunteered at LFO
  • 28 youth from the Criminal Justice System fulfilled Community Service hours at LFO

It looks like we are on track this year to meet or exceed last year’s volunteer numbers. In the month I have been here we have hosted a dozen individuals as well as the following groups:

Growing Places Farm and Energy Park

GRuB Cultivating Youth Participants

Univera

YMCA Farm to Table Youth Camp

Whether you came for a single morning or a full week, whether you came on your own or with a group, whether you weeded a crop or helped with an event, we would like to thank each and every individual who made the effort and contributed to our success. We truly cannot do it without your help!

by Sky Myers, Volunteer Program Coordinator

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