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The Growing Community Project offers a wide range of volunteer opportunities.

First and foremost, our goal is to help people grow vegetables that will be donated to help fight hunger countywide. The following steps will guide you through the process of signing up, accessing helpful resources, and letting us know when your veggies are ready for pickup. If you don’t have space for a garden where you live, there are opportunities to grow in local community gardens as well! There’s also a list of opportunities for volunteers who’d rather not work in the garden but still want to participate in the program.

  • 1) Sign Up to Grow in Your Own Back Yard!
    Food security is a fundamental pillar of community resilience. Right now, one out of four families in Santa Barbara County can’t put enough food on table. You can help solve this problem! Do you already have a garden and would like to donate fresh veggies to those in need? Do you need help starting a vegetable garden to grow food for struggling families? We will get you started with free materials and lots of great information.
  • 2) Download the Garden Manual!
    Once you’re signed up, you’re part of our Bucket Brigade Growing Community food-resilience program. Now what? Do you know how to grow healthy veggies? Do you need a refresher on the basics? We’ve got you covered! The UC Master Gardeners of Santa Barbara County have created a garden manual just for you. Also, there’s a great composting booklet by Santa Barbara County’s Resource Recovery & Waste Management Division.

  • 3) Do You Need Garden Bed Assistance?
    If you’re isolated at home during the pandemic, our Growing Community Project is a great way to get outside and connect to a greater humanitarian effort. If you’re just getting started, we can help! We have partnered with building contractors and waste-management agencies to reclaim discarded lumber to make raised garden beds. Would you like a free raised garden bed? We deliver! We also can help deliver organic garden soil! SIGN UP HERE
  • 4) Plant your seeds and starts!   We can deliver!
    A) What to Plant?  Here is our Fall Planting List!
    Each season, we will create a list of plants that we are asking gardeners to grow to help support the Foodbank and others. Of course, you can grow whatever you like, but our program will only pick up vegetables listed on our seasonal planting list. Why? It is important to provide the kinds of vegetables that people who receive the food aid know how to cook. For example, everybody knows how to prepare and eat carrots, but not everyone knows what to do with a rutabaga. We don’t want anyone to put in the effort to grow food that can’t easily be prepared by the people in need. Also, different plants grow in each season and, finally, some vegetables are easier to transport and store than others, which helps us make sure we deliver only fresh, high-quality produce to our partners.  Here is our fall planting list for September through October 2020:

    1. Cabbage – “Columbia” from starts
    2. Spinach – “Corvair” from seed or starts
    3. Onions – From bulbs
    4. Beets – “Red Ace” from seeds
    5. Broccoli – “Packman” or “Premium Crop” from starts
    6. Radishes “Rover” or “Cherry Bell” from Seeds
    7. Garlic – California Early White – From seed or cloves.
    8. Carrots – “Danvers” and “Bolero” From seeds

    B) Where do I get these seeds and starts for my garden?
    We have partnered with Island Seed & Feed to get you the seeds you need to grow our Fall Requested Vegetables. All you need to do is to completely fill out this form to request seeds and starts for you Victory Garden!Sign up for seeds!

  • 5) Grow Fresh Healthy Produce!
    Grow at home, at a community garden, or at a local humanitarian farm!  We have growing options for everybody.  The most important thing is to get started today.
  • 6) Share Your Produce
    You’ve planted your garden and tended your crops. Do you have enough healthy veggies to fill a milk crate? If so, it’s time to share. Please refer to your handbook for harvesting tips, then let us know when your veggies are ready for pickup. Our volunteers will bring your veggies back to Bucket Brigade headquarters for sorting and weighing before delivery to humanitarian food aid agencies across Santa Barbara County.
  • 7) Learn: Garden Wisdom Wednesdays Webinar
    A fun part of our Growing Community program is growing and sharing community garden wisdom.  Tune in Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. for a free webinar hosted by UC Master Gardeners of Santa Barbara County. Do you have questions about drip irrigation? Weird bugs? Worms? What about local growing conditions, soil, and composting? You’ll be learning from the local masters and connecting to other humanitarian gardeners in the community.

Volunteer Opportunities and Options:

  • Volunteer with the Bucket Brigade at a Public Garden!
    We understand that not everybody has the space or resources to grow their own backyard vegetable garden. For them, we offer volunteer shifts at local garden sites, where we plant, tend, and harvest crops year round. Families are welcome, and high schoolers can earn community service hours toward graduation. Interested in helping at one of our Growing Community Garden Partner sites?
  • Get involved at your local community garden!
    If you don’t have space for a backyard garden, you can still grow with us! Many Santa Barbara neighborhoods, from Santa Maria to Carpinteria, have community gardens where volunteers can plant, tend, and harvest their own veggies. Do you have a community garden near you?  Find out here!
  • Do you like to drive?
    The Bucket Brigade Growing Community needs volunteer drivers to pick up vegetables from home gardens and deliver to the Foodbank and other charitable organizations. You must have a valid driver’s license and your own vehicle. Would you like to be a driver?
  • Volunteer to sort veggies!
    We also need extra hands to help sort and weigh all the produce we’ve gathered from backyard and community gardens. Sign up here:
  • Donate: Please help fund the Growing Community!
    This is a big project. We can use all the help we can get! Your donation helps us buy tools and materials, feed our teams of volunteers, and pay our staff to run a safe and efficient operation.

Questions and/or comments? Please shoot us an email!

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