The Impact of Volunteers

What can we say? Volunteers make the work we do at SFC possible! At SFC our mission is to cultivate a healthy community by strengthening the local food system and improving access to nutritious, affordable food. Volunteers give their time week after week to support this mission. From Fridays in the garden to afternoons in the office packing seeds, to Saturday mornings at one of our SFC Farmers‘ Markets, volunteers do this and so much more!

In 2015 the Corporation for National and Community Service estimated the average value of a volunteer hour at $23.56. In the past year (Aug. 1, 2016- Aug. 1, 2017) volunteers have provided a total of 2,586 hours to SFC. When paired with the dollar amount per hour, volunteers have provided Sustainable Food Center with $69,926.16 in pro bono work! That is an incredible level of support!


$41,465.60 in Service Work Donated to SFC Farmers' Markets

Let’s break these numbers up a bit. The majority of volunteer hours go to support our SFC Farmers’ Markets. This is our largest, outward facing program. We run three farmers’ markets year- round, rain or shine. Volunteers participate in one of two ways. The first is at the Information Booth where they answer shopper questions, sell SFC merchandise, and are usually the first point of contact for folks at the market. The second is to provide samples of our vendor's food for shoppers to try. Volunteers bring their culinary experience to this "Taste the Place" tent and wow customers with their on-the-spot recipes and out-of-the-box food pairings. In the past year, volunteers gave 1,760 hours to the market system alone - totaling $41,465.60 in service work.


$6,573.24 In Service Work Donated to Grow Local

Let’s also look at the other largest volunteer category, our Grow Local program! We provide several ways to get connected with organic food growing. First, volunteers can choose to get their hands dirty in our SFC Teaching Garden and Herb Garden on Friday mornings. Tasks range from helping build garden beds, spreading mulch, planting seeds, to weeding and many other similar tasks. Second, we run a project called Spread the Harvest where community members can receive free gardening resources. Volunteers help year round to support Spread the Harvest. They package seeds, conduct surveys, shovel compost, and provide us with administrative support. In the past year, volunteers gave 279 hours to our Grow Local program, totaling $6,573.24 in service work.

We have an amazing team of volunteers we rely on week after week as they work alongside us, helping to fulfill our mission. While it is easy to put a dollar amount to hours, it is not easy to put a value on our volunteers. We could not successfully do the work we do without volunteers. Thank you!