A “Harvest Event” is when a group of volunteers gather to pick fruit, nuts, or grapes which would otherwise go to waste.
On average, five volunteers will spend two hours harvesting a tree or two. Each harvest event will be arranged and led by a Neighbourhood Leader (aka Lead Harvester).
Find the event
When you register for a harvest, you will receive a confirmation email including the address of the event. Upon arrival, if it’s not immediately obvious where the harvest is happening, look for a chalkboard sign to show you the way.
Arrive on time
Lead Harvesters begin by explaining how the harvest will work. The harvesting equipment, safety procedures and any important specifics about the tree you are about to harvest will be introduced. You must arrive on time if you wish to receive a share of the harvest, out of respect for those who arrived on time and participated in the full harvest.
If you are unable to attend a harvest you have registered for, please cancel your reservation on Eventbrite at least 24 hours in advance. Harvest events often have a waiting list of volunteers who would like to participate – please be fair to those waiting by cancelling in time for us to offer a spot to someone else!
Fruit is harvested fresh from the tree or vine. Nuts are harvested by picking them off the ground. There are tasks for all ages, from holding the ladder to gathering up the windfall to sorting the bounty.
Sort and share
The fruit is sorted by quality with at least 1/4 of the cream-of-the-crop set aside for donation to a local food agency. The remainder is shared between the homeowner, volunteers and Hidden Harvest Ottawa.
What to bring
Dress for the weather: the show goes on in light rain! Wear comfortable shoes. Bring one or two bags to take home your share of the harvest, and bring a few extra cloth bags you’re willing to donate, they will be used to deliver a portion of the food to the nearest food agency.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Can I bring my child / friend / partner?
We are seeking to find a balance between encouraging community and enabling everyone to have a chance to attend a harvest event. Presently, up to two spots in a harvest event can be reserved at once – a parent may sign up their child, or one friend can invite another friend – just ensure they have also signed up as a volunteer with us!
Bringing friends and other unregistered guests is not encouraged out of respect to others who have signed up for the event. There is only so much harvested bounty to go around.
Parents, please note that many harvest locations are not ideal forchildren and Hidden Harvest cannot pre-screen site conditions for child appropriateness. Harvest locations may involve confined environments, rough landscapes, close proximity to traffic, and involve ladders and other equipment. Parents wishing to bring their child(ren) must be confident in their ability to meaningfully contribute to harvest activities while taking full responsibility for the safety and supervision of their child(ren).
Note: Children 15 and under are welcome, but must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Teens aged 15 to 18 must bring with them a copy of the waiver signed by a parent.
Why are harvest events always full? Why is there always a waiting list?
If you are having trouble getting into a harvest event for your area, it is likely because we have not found enough trees to harvest in your neighbourhood. You can help by downloading and sharing our poster & leaflet with homeowners in your community who might have trees to harvest.
I signed up to volunteer, why haven’t I heard from anyone?
Not to worry, you’ve successfully signed up if you’ve seen the “Volunteer Sign-Up Confirmation” page. Hidden Harvest Ottawa is in it’s second year, and it will be a year of growth! We will be doing our best to respond to questions, but sometimes we are not able to respond individually to every one of our amazing 648 volunteer harvesters (and counting…)