2011 Volunteer Policies

Dear Volunteers,

We are excited to have your help as we work together to reduce poverty, hunger and neighborhood blight here in Duluth. According to the 2009 American Communities Survey, one in four people in Duluth is living in poverty. Many low-income people are faced with few options for purchasing fresh, healthy foods for their families due to lack of money and transportation. Your involvement in our program means that we are able to grow more fresh produce, create more neighborhood greenspace and give low-income people the opportunity to access a paycheck, an active lifestyle and fresh produce.

As you work with us, you will gain hands-on knowledge and experience with intensive urban farming, working with people from diverse backgrounds, and the importance of a strong local food system. We are committed to providing our volunteers with a fun rewarding, meaningful experience as they work with us to grow a healthy community. Volunteers are what make Seeds of Success a thriving, dynamic place of learning and sharing. We look forward to having you as a member of our team!


Emily Kniskern

Project Co-Coordinator

Seeds of Success



Engaging our community to end poverty

19 North 21st Avenue West, Duluth, MN 55806 phone 218-726-1665 · tty 800-627-3529 · toll free 866-761-5257 fax 218-726-1612


What We Expect From You

Seeds of Success volunteers help grow fresh produce in unused lots within the city of Duluth. The work includes digging beds, planting, weeding, watering, and building fences, as well as harvesting, washing and packaging the crops.

The nature of this urban farming project means that we need dependable volunteers and staff if we are to succeed in our mission of equalizing access to locally-produced, healthy foods. We intend that the volunteer experience you gain will prepare you for future employment opportunities and we expect your work ethic and professionalism to reflect this.

1. Arrive on time and ready to work

Wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes and clothing that can get dirty. If you have work gloves, please bring them. If not, let us know and we will supply you with some. We strongly recommend wearing sunscreen and a hat while working outdoors.

Due to the time-pressure inherent in farming, work will continue in rainy weather. If lightning or other unsafe weather conditions develop, we will notify you of an alternate plan for the day or rescheduling.

2. Be respectful of people and property

        As a program of Community Action Duluth, we uphold their mission of creating equality across racial, gender and socioeconomic differences. We are excited to work with a diverse group of community members and we hope you are too. Since we are working in the community to create these gardens, we ask that you help us build good relationships with our neighbors. Swearing,         littering, and unruly behavior undermine this effort and will not be permitted.           

3. Be safe!

        Safety of our volunteers, interns and staff is a top priority. Farming includes working with sharp shovels, digging forks and hoes as well as operation of/proximity to sod cutters and tillers. While we will be working hard to clean up the worksites, some have broken glass and metal scraps buried in the soil. Follow directions from staff at all times as well as the detailed safety policy         included in this packet.

What You Can Expect From Us

In addition to our goal of equalizing access to fresh, local produce, Seeds of Success is committed to providing meaningful volunteer experience to community members from all walks of life. We want this to be a stepping stone to bigger and better opportunities for you in sustainable agriculture, food safety, community organizing, food distribution and more. We will support this goal in the following ways:

  1. Volunteers who have demonstrated satisfactory work habits can expect to receive letters of recommendation and referrals from program coordinators for their future employment and educational endeavors.

  1. Individuals who volunteer throughout the season can expect to acquire the basic skills needed to grow, cook and preserve fresh food. They will also gain valuable insights into the operation of a small-scale growing and distribution operation.

  1. Per our Harvest Sharing Policy outlined in this packet, income-eligible volunteers will receive a share of the farm’s yield proportionate to the number of volunteer hours they have logged.

Harvest Sharing Policy for Low-Income Volunteers

Involving low-income people in sustainable food systems is the primary goal of Seeds of Success. By volunteering with this program, you are able to earn shares of the harvest. Eating the fresh, healthy food you have worked to grow completes the cycle that makes local food production worthwhile; as Wendell Berry said, "Eating is an agricultural act." 

While actual production quantities are unpredictable, as a general guideline, the Seeds program staff will aim to distribute 1/3 of the program's produce to low-income volunteers, with the remaining 2/3 marketed to support ongoing our ongoing operation. 

Volunteers who make less than 200% of federal poverty income level will be considered low-income. Volunteers are responsible for determining if they meet this criterion or not. 

In order to qualify to receive their first share, low-income volunteers must log four hours of work under the supervision of Seeds staff. Each additional share shall be earned after two more hours of work. Seeds program staff will be responsible for logging volunteer hours.  

What constitutes a share will vary depending on the availability of produce at the time of harvest. Seeds program staff will make reasonable efforts to ensure that shares are consistent in value across the season. Volunteers must be present at the time of harvest to receive their share.

Seeds of Success 2011 Farm Safety Policy

Seeds of Success is vitally interested in the health and safety of its volunteers. Protection of volunteers from injury or occupational disease is a major continuing objective. Seeds of Success will make every effort to provide a safe, healthy work environment.

All supervisors and volunteers must be dedicated to the continuing objective of reducing risk of injury. Seeds of Success will take every reasonable precaution for the protection of volunteers. Supervisors are responsible to ensure that machinery and equipment are safe and that volunteers work in compliance with established safe work practices and procedures. Volunteers must receive adequate training in their specific work tasks to protect their health and safety. At the same time, every volunteer must protect his or her own health and safety by working in compliance with safe work practices and procedures established by Seeds of Success.

While we would like to involve as many community members as possible, safety concerns prohibit children under the age of 10 from volunteering at certain sites or while some types of work are taking place. Since our sites and the work that takes place there are constantly evolving, we will evaluate this on a case-by-case basis to determine the safety of participation for younger volunteers.

 General Safety

have to be alone in case of emergency.

you come back in. Make sure someone knows that you are at Seeds of Success volunteering.

Tool Safety


Always cut away from yourself, but be careful of the plants.

When carrying, place blade under your arm. Do not place blade in dirt it dulls

the blade.


Be aware of where they are in the field and always give them the right of way.


tractors can pass.

Plants and Insects to be Aware of

actively seek warm bodies. Remember to check your person for unwanted small


Ergonomics/Body Awareness



Clothing and Gear

First Aid Procedures

Report all injuries to the supervisor immediately. While we have first aid qualified workers, we do not have designated first responders. First aid at the job site is done on a “Good Samaritan” basis. If volunteers are involved in a situation involving blood, they should:

I, ______________________________(volunteer’s name) have read the above safety

information, agree to follow the guidelines and agree to volunteer at my own risk.


Signature____________________________________________       Date________________

Seeds of Success Staff Supervisor Signature________________________________________

**This document will be kept in your volunteer files for our records at Seeds of Success

Volunteer Waiver of Liability

This Release and Waiver of Liability (the “Release”) is executed on this ___________ day of

____________ 20__, by _________________________________(the “Volunteer”) in favor of Seeds of Success, a non‐profit, their director, officers, and employees (collectively “Seeds of Success”).

The Volunteer desires to work as a volunteer for Seeds of Success and engage in the

activities related to being a volunteer (the “activities”). The Volunteer understands that the Activities may

include, but may not be limited to, use and transport of various tools, activities in proximity to moving

vehicles, activities in the outdoors where volunteers may be subjected to changing weather conditions,

insects and other pests and irritants, and activities which may expose the Volunteer to other potential


The Volunteer hereby freely, voluntarily, and without duress executes this Release under the following


Release and Waiver: Volunteer does hereby release and forever discharge and hold harmless Seeds of Success and its successors and assigns from any and all liability, claims and demands of whatever kind or nature, either in law or in equity, which arise or may hereafter arise from Volunteer’s Activities with Seeds of Success

Volunteer understands that this Release discharges Seeds of Success from any liability or

claim that the Volunteer may have against Seeds of Success with respect to any bodily

injury, personal injury, illness, death, or property damage that may result from the Volunteer’s activities with Seeds of Success, whether caused by the negligence of Seeds of Success or its officers, director, employees or otherwise. Volunteer also understands that Seeds of Success does not assume any responsibility for or obligation to provide financial assistance or other assistance, including, but not limited to medical, health, or disability insurance in the event of injury or illness.

Medical Treatment: Volunteer does hereby release and forever discharge Seeds of Success from any claim whatsoever which arises or may hereafter arise on account of any first aid, treatment, or service rendered in connection with the Volunteer’s activities with Seeds of Success.

Assumption of Risk: The Volunteer understands that the Activities include work that may be hazardous to the Volunteer, including, but not limited to transportation.

Volunteer hereby expressly and specifically assumes the risk of injury or harm in the Activities and releases Seeds of Success from all liability for injury, illness, death, or property damage resulting from the Activities.

Insurance: The Volunteer understands that Seeds of Success does not carry or maintain health, medical, or disability insurance for any Volunteer.

Photographic Release: Volunteer does hereby grant and convey unto Seeds of Success all rights, title, and interest in any and all photographic images and video or audio recordings made by Seeds of Success during the Volunteer’s Activities with Seeds of Success, including, but not limited to, any royalties, proceeds, or other benefits derived from such photographs or recordings.

Other: Volunteer expressly agrees that this Release is intended to be as broad and inclusive as permitted by the laws of the State of Vermont and that this Release shall be governed by and interpreted in accordance with the laws of the State of Vermont. Volunteer agrees that in the event that any clause or provision of this Release shall be held to be invalid by any court of competent jurisdiction, the invalidity of such clause or provision shall not otherwise affect the remaining provisions of this Release which shall continue to be enforceable.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, Volunteer has executed this Release as of the day and year first above


Volunteer Name (Print Please): _________________________________________________________

Volunteer Signature:___________________________________________________________________

Today’s Date:________________________________________________________________________

Volunteer Address____________________________________________________________________

Phone number where you are most easy to reach:__________________________________________


Group/Organization: (if applicable) ______________________________________________________

***If the volunteer is under the age of 18 a parent or legal guardian must sign.***

Parent Signature:_______________________________________________ (if 18 or under)

In case of emergency, please contact: