Skookum Gleaners FAQ

Gleaners Flowchart — see our Gleaners FAQ page for more info. Click on the image above for large version

How Skookum Gleaners Works

Skookum Gleaners aims to provide a community service to fruit/nut/produce donors, to pickers, to local charities, while increasing our local food security making more food available in the region. We want to make the process as clear and transparent as possible, while maintaining careful records of what and how much was picked, where, by whom, and where the charitable donations went.

The Food Donor Side of things

  1. People with fruit, nuts or vegetables (henceforth ‘donors’) should be prepared to give us some details on what kind of produce they have to offer, when it will be ready to pick, other details like safety accessibility of the site, specifics on the trees, etc. Skookum Gleaners is not an emergency fruit/nut removal service, so please try to give us 2 or 3 days advance warning on getting to a pick. Remember that we’re all volunteers. We do not accept calls for picking blackberries, but everything else that is edible is fair game.
  2. Donors call up Skookum Gleaners at (604) 485-7940 or email us at gleaners@skookumfood.ca  While we cannot absolutely assure donors that their fruit/nuts will be picked, we will do our best to coordinate a team of pickers. If no one has returned your call request within 36 hours, please let us know we’ll keep trying.
  3. All telephone calls from donors or people who want to pick are forwarded to our volunteer coordinator, therefore it’s often faster if you email us with any info, if possible.
  4. The volunteer coordinator will record the info given by the donor, including the name, address, phone number, email, and other relevant details. He/she will pass this information along to the many people who are on our email list, and letting them know that a pick is on offer.

The Picker Side of things

  1. A stripped-down version of the pick information (with type of fruit/nut produce and general area of town the pick is in) is emailed out to the entire pickers’ list as soon as it comes in. This is to make the process fairer to people who work away from their computers, for people who are not online very often. People who do not use email will still be considered, but will be telephoned for picking details by the Team Leader (see Tasks for the Team Leader below).
  2. Pickers pick up and read their email,if interested, respond to the call by emailing back to let the volunteer coordinator know.
  3. The number of spots available for any pick is determined by how much there is to pick, typically 2 people per tree, but this may vary. Once the volunteer coordinator gets a response from the minimum number of pickers, an email message is sent out to the first responder, and he/she becomes the Team Leader.
  4. If there are more interested pickers than spots available on a given pick, and some responders have picked recently, they are bumped down on the list. This is to allow as many different people as possible to pick.
  5. If there are more interested pickers than spots available on a given pick, the ones who respond later will be held over to the next pick and given preference there.
  6. When a person replies to a call to pick, we assume that they will not be bringing friends, children, or others to the pick as well, unless they mentioned this when they responded to the call for pickers. It’s not fair to other pickers to have extra people show up at a pick.

Tasks for the Team Leaders

Each pick will have a Team Leader, unless the pick is so small that just one person is needed (in which case a person will be his/her own Team Leader), or if interest in the pick is limited to one responder within 24 hours.

The Team Leader will coordinate the finer points of the pick with his/her co-pickers, the donor, and the charity they choose to support.

  1. The Team Leader will contact the donor within 48 hours and together they will determine a few times when it would be okay to show up to pick, as well as determining other information such as driving directions, whether there is any picking equipment available on site, the height of the trees, etc.
  2. The Team Leader will then contact the other picker(s) by phone or by email and tell them where the pick will be, arrange a time they are all able to pick, and if possible, they can also make car-pooling arrangements, and decide where the 1/3 of the fruit/nuts/produce to go to charity will go, who will take it there, and when.
  3. The Team Leader will then contact the donor to confirm a time place for the pick with the donor, and let the volunteer coordinator know when this will be (gleaners@skookumfood.ca or phone (604) 485-7940).
  4. The Team Leader will read the ‘How to Pick Safely’ web page or brochure, familiarize him/herself with this basic information,be prepared to advise the other pickers on safety issues.
  5. The Team Leader, as the liaison with the donor, will respect people’s property and ask the team to help clean up all fallen fruit, leaves, and branches.
  6. The Team Leader can delegate some of his/her responsibilities, but either way, someone from the pick is expected to write or call back to the database manager (gleaners@skookumfood.ca) within 48 hours after the pick to tell the database manager:
  • how the pick went;
  • what was picked;
  • how much was picked;
  • any issues that arose;
  • where the 1/3 to charity was taken, with a contact name/number if possible.

What If’s

What if we can’t coordinate a good time for all the pickers /or donor within 48 hours?
Contact the volunteer coordinator at gleaners@skookumfood.ca or phone (604) 485-7940 for assistance.

What if the donor is not home at the time they said they’d be?
If the pick was organized for a specific time with the donor, then it must be assumed that the donor either forgot about it or had to step out unexpectedly. The Team Leader must try to reach the donor by phone, if no reply, then can go on with the pick.

What if the donor doesn’t want any of their fruit/nuts/produce?
This happens quite a lot, but assume that donors will want their 1/3 share. If they do not, then 1/3 of the pick must go to charity, with the other 2/3 share split evenly amongst the pickers.

What if the pickers don’t show up? ( I am not even the Team Leader)
If possible, contact the other picker(s) first; if there is no reply or they cannot make it, use your best judgment: pick what you can, leaving 1/3 to the donor and 1/3 to charity. If you know of someone who is available to pick,  call them and see if they want to help you out. It’s important to donors to have their fruit/nuts picked due to issues with wildlife (esp. bears) so time is of the essence. Contact the volunteer coordinator with any issues such as this at gleaners@skookumfood.ca or phone (604) 485-7940.

What if too many pickers show up (more than were supposed to show up, or more than were actually required for the pick)?
When a person signs up to pick, they sign up as a single person, not a team. Please contact the volunteer coordinator if you have concerns, and we will make sure that you get another chance to pick if you didn’t get to adequately pick on your last excursion.