[Updated June, 2020]

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the distribution process has changed in order to ensure everyone’s safety. As a result, the procedures for volunteering have also changed. PLEASE CAREFULLY READ THE INSTRUCTIONS BELOW, BOOKMARK THEM AND MAKE SURE THAT ALL OF YOUR CO-SHAREHOLDERS HAVE READ THEM.

Inclusiveness – Farm Spot strives to be a warm, welcoming and inclusive community. When volunteering, please be sure to treat everyone with kindness and respect.

Be Kind – We are a community and an entirely volunteer-run organization. There will surely be hiccups as we navigate distribution under these strange new circumstances. Please be kind and patient with one another. We are all in this together.

Are all Farm Spot members required to volunteer during the outbreak of Covid-19? No. Members who are part of high-risk groups are not required to volunteer during the pandemic. Due to the particular danger of COVID-19 for people in high-risk groups, members of high-risk groups or those who live with or care for such individuals should not serve as distribution volunteers this season. All other members are expected to volunteer at least two shifts per share; however, any other members for whom the crisis makes volunteering unsafe or impossible should email Megan, the Farm Spot Volunteer Coordinator. We are also asking those members who are able to take on additional volunteer shifts to do so in order to make up the deficit. Farm Spot CSA is only possible with the help of volunteers – we do not have other means to operate distribution.

Are Personal Protective Equipment and Sanitation required during distribution this season? Yes! All volunteers MUST WEAR A MASK AND GLOVES during the entirety of their shift. Farm Spot will provide gloves, but please BRING YOUR OWN MASK. Volunteers (and only volunteers) will have access to the church for hand washing and other sanitation. Please disinfect your hands and workspace as frequently as practicable.

How do I sign up for a volunteer shift? Sign up here.

Who should I contact if I have a question or concern about volunteering? Please contact Megan Zwiebel, Farm Spot Volunteer Coordinator at volunteerfarmspot@gmail.com.

Who oversees distribution? Amy Moran and Maya Luci are our Distribution Coordinators for the 2020 season. They make sure that everything runs smoothly during distribution and are the superheroes of our CSA. When you arrive at St. Mark’s for your shift, check in with them and they will assign you a task.

What time are the volunteer shifts? There are two volunteer shifts during distribution every week: Early Shift is 4:30-6:30pm; Late Shift is 6:30-8:30pm. Please try to arrive promptly for your shift as we rely on your help!

What are the different types of volunteer shifts at distribution? There are 4 types of volunteer shifts:

o   Opening Distribution (2 per distribution) – Volunteering for the early shift of distribution is from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Early shift volunteers assist with setting up distribution and distribute shares to members. It is very important to arrive on time to meet the truck and unload as quickly as possible.

o   Closing Distribution (2 per distribution) – Volunteering for the late shift of distribution is from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Late shift volunteers take over distribution of shares from the early shift and clean up after distribution, so please be on time and plan to stay the entire shift.

o   Opening Compost (1 per distribution) – Volunteering for the early shift of composting is from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Early shift composting volunteers first assist with set up and then assist the compost coordinator with managing the compost collection and maintenance of the compost site. When signing up, please keep in mind that this shift is labor intensive.

o   Closing Compost (1 per distribution) – Volunteering for the late shift of composting is from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The late shift composting volunteer assists the compost coordinator with managing the compost collection maintenance of the compost site. Once distribution is complete, the late shift composting volunteer assists with clean up. When signing up, please keep in mind that this shift is labor intensive.

What tasks will I be doing during my volunteer shift? See the various tasks of distribution below.

o   Distribution Set Up – We have a storage shed at the church that houses most of our equipment. We also have several folding tables stored inside the church which need to be set up for distribution. Amy and May will let you know how to set up the tables, as it can change based on the shares and the weather.

o   Truck Unloading – In the beginning of the season, due to New York State’s PAUSE, the delivery truck will be arriving early and unloading will be handled by the distribution coordinators. If and when we return to more normal operations, all opening distribution volunteers – including compost volunteers – will help to unload the truck. More detailed instructions will be provided at that time.

o   Sign-In Sheet – One volunteer will be in charge of the sign-in sheet and will serve as the greeter for those collecting shares. During social distancing, a volunteer will sign in all members.

o   Helping Navigate Distribution – Volunteers will help members navigate the pick-up process and answer any questions people may have. Note that we have quite a few new members this year. Additionally, members will often have someone else pick up their share due to scheduling conflicts and these helpers may not be familiar with the process. Please make sure to explain the altered process to newbies and be sensitive to people who may be unfamiliar with Farm Spot or have a language barrier.

o   Distributing Vegetables – During social distancing, only one member may collect a share at a time. Thus, there will only be one share box on the table at one time. A volunteer will take a box from the pile and put it on the table, making sure not to open it or touch the box’s content. Once a box is emptied, the distribution volunteer will break it down so that it lies flat and put them away per Amy and Maya’s directions.

o   Clean Up – After distribution is over, the distribution area and tables need to be cleaned. The tables then need to be put away and the area needs to be generally tidied and swept/mopped, as needed.

o   Composting – We are very lucky to run a composting program along with our CSA so that members can bring their kitchen scraps to be made into compost rather than going to a landfill. For that program to work, we need one composting volunteer for each opening and closing distribution. If you are physically able to assist with the composting, please sign up for a composting shift – not everyone can and, therefore, these are often the hardest shifts to fill.

May I bring my child or pet with me during my volunteer shift? No, please do not bring children or pets to your volunteer shift during this time of social distancing. We will not have access to the garden or playground at the church, and must limit the number of people at distribution to the smallest number possible.

What if I need to reschedule my volunteer shift? If you will be unable to fulfill a volunteer shift you have already signed up for, please cancel at SignUp.com and reschedule as soon as possible. For shifts within seven days, please email Megan as well, so she can email the group to fill your spot. Please try to avoid last minute cancelations, as it often leads to understaffed distributions. 

Are there additional ways to volunteer other than at distribution? Yes. In addition to distribution volunteer shifts, there are a few other ways to volunteer to help Farm Spot run smoothly. We are currently looking for volunteers to assist with:

o   Community Outreach – We are hoping to increase awareness of Farm Spot in the community and encourage new people to become members. We are particularly looking for people with language skills to assist in reaching the diverse population in Jackson Heights.

o   Fundraising – As mentioned in previous emails, we are facing serious budget constraints and are unable to offer as many subsidized shares as we have in the past. While we are pursuing grants, we would also like to explore ways of raising money in our community, from members and local businesses. We are looking for experienced fundraisers to organize this effort, as well as volunteers to meet face-to-face with business owners about donations.

If you would be interested in assisting with any of these projects, please let Megan know volunteerfarmspot@gmail.com

I’m splitting a share with another person, how many hours do I need to serve?
Each share is asked to volunteer 4 hours. How that’s split between people/households who split shares is up to them. There are some situations where one household does all the volunteer hours, and other cases where each household takes 2 hours (1 distribution shift). As long as you signed up with someone’s e-mail from each household, we will credit the service properly. You will be contacted if we can’t find your records.

I have one vegetable shares and two fruit shares, how many hours do I need to serve?
We ask that each share volunteers 4 hours of service, regardless of how many vegetable and/or fruit shares you have.

I’ve already fulfilled my volunteer requirements for the season.  May I volunteer for more shifts?
Yes!  We’d love to have you! The volunteer coordinator may contact you to double check that it’s your intention to volunteer beyond the mandatory hours, but you are more than welcome to help out.