A data-management tool for urban harvest organizations to help them plan, harvest, manage and track food donations to needy people in their areas.
Every year at least 200 million pounds of urban-grown fruit goes to waste in America's cities, rotting on sidewalks or going to the landfill. Many community groups have formed to harvest this excess fruit and take it to food banks, shelters, soup kitchens and schools to be eaten by people who otherwise wouldn't have access to fresh fruit. These organizations and groups are largely staffed by volunteers who want to maximize the amount of ripe fruit that they harvest.
As the number of donors and volunteers grows, many gleaning organizations discover that task of managing data for efficient fruit picking is difficult using existing tools, such as Google Docs, Excel, and thumbtacks on a map.
Based on a design charette conducted in collaboration with 80 charitable gleaning organizations, I have discovered that the needed toolbox involves donor management and mapping capability, tree seasonality mapping and management functionality, volunteer and food bank scheduling, and reporting/tracking tools.
Based on my experience building and launching Neighborhood Fruit a service that helps individuals find and share the fruits, nuts and vegetables growing on public land through interactive maps, I believe that it is going to cost $25,000 to build the toolbox for gleaners. This will include a suite of online services to help gleaners manage all the data necessary to a successful harvest, and will be provided to them with minimal cost. Unfortunately none of these organizations can fund such a large upfront cost, despite desperately needing the service.
Data management may not sound very sexy, but this tool will enable them to be significantly more efficient, which means more fresh, local produce for children, homeless people, the working poor and the elderly! The fruit that is consumed by them won't be rotting in anaerobic environments at landfills and converting to methane. The Earth, communities and you all win!
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
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