Fighting Poverty with Passion
I started my position as the Harvest Coordinator for the New Orleans Fruit Tree Project back in March of 2013. Before being hired for the position I did a couple of harvests as a volunteer on one of the AmeriCorps/VISTA service days. I eventually pursued and was accepted for the position, but I’ve only harvested a handful of trees since spring. Of course, I understood what I would be up against once citrus season started again in the fall, but it seemed so far away. Now it’s October, and the fruit harvests are trickling in, but it won’t really get going until November, and I still have so much to do before the citrus season picks up, and when it does it’s going to be busy right through March 2014, which is when I finish my second year with AmeriCorps/VISTA program and finish my one year as the New Orleans Fruit Tree Project’s Harvest Coordinator.
Most of the time I’ll be busy coordinating fruit harvests in and around the New Orleans with a few more outreach events, a couple more volunteer group events and the NOFTP fundraiser in December to think about. After that the holiday season will stretch into the new year. I know I’ll have plenty of challenges before and after the new year dealing with volunteer groups, intern scheduling issues and harvest volunteers that don’t show up to a harvest, or even a worse situation of having problems with the van, which we use for the harvests. It’s our only vehicle. I know it’s going to take me 3-4 weeks just to get into that harvest groove or routine. I also understand what I need to do to have a successful citrus season and I want it to be a very successful harvest season.
Last season we harvested over 11,000 lbs of fruit. Our goal this citrus season is 15,000 lbs of fruit. I know the citrus season will go fast, and I’m looking forward to the next four and a half months, but I do need to buckle down on my time management and organization skills, which got a bit lazy during the summer, but I do have the skills and I’ll get them back in shape quickly. Of course, I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do once March does arrive and the harvest season will be pretty much over, and I finish my AmeriCorps experience. I know I’d like to stay in New Orleans, but I’m not sure what I want to do next.
Going back to school is still an option for me, but will the time and money spent be worth it at this point of my life? I don’t know. Of course, I continue to think about moving outside the county for an extended period of time, so that is also an option, but I still have to support myself. I guess, I’ll just wait and see what happens. I know I need to update my resume and start proactively looking for employment and a new place to live, which is just one of many things I’ll be doing as I work through this harvest season.
New Orleans Fruit Tree Project 2013-2014