Volunteers are truly the force behind the work we do, the backbone of our organization. Without them, our programs in food access, education, and more would – without a doubt – never exist. This month, we are featuring one of our volunteers, Genie Raff, who coordinates our Bounty Hunters gleaning program.
Genie first learned about Petaluma Bounty a few years ago when visiting the Walnut Park Farmers’ Market. She started volunteering at the farm, first supporting our Bounty Bag CSA program by processing produce for the weekly Bounty Bags. Today, she supports our efforts through Bounty Hunters, our community-wide food gleaning program, where volunteers collect fresh, healthy food from backyard gardeners, farms, orchards and businesses and distribute to families and seniors who cannot otherwise afford fresh food.
Tell us a little bit about yourself! What’s your story?
I’ve been living in Petaluma for about 25 years. [I] started vegetable gardening with the establishment of the Community Garden at Cavanagh Center, have had my own kitchen garden for about 10 years now, and am associated with local garden groups and Daily Acts. I also do community service for Village Network.
What do you do with Petaluma Bounty now? Why is this work important to you?
I’m the Gleaning Coordinator for Bounty Hunters. I love to feed people and hate to see food go to waste. It gives me great satisfaction to harvest delicious fresh fruit and vegetables that would otherwise just spoil on the ground, and get it into the hands of organizations who provide it to those who need it.
What does community farming mean to you?
We live in an area blessed with tremendous bounty: great climate for growing vegetables year round and fruits of all kinds in season, pasturage for livestock. Residents of Petaluma and neighboring towns cherish their home gardens (and maybe also a few chickens). Local farms provide what we can’t grow, and meat, milk and cheese. We really can be locavores — for the sake of delicious eating, our health, and our environment.
Thank you, Genie, for the work you do to redirect excess produce into the hands of those who need it! Interested in becoming a Bounty Hunter? Please email [email protected]