As an organization that was formed just a few years ago, marketing and visibility are extremely important for Spokane Edible Tree Project. The organization has spent a lot of time reaching out to the community to let them know who they are, what they do, and how they fit into the broader hunger relief community. Marketing and visibility have been achieved by tabling at events, maintaining social media accounts, producing printed materials, posting updates to the organization’s website, and receiving coverage by media outlets.
SETP attends a variety of community events throughout the year. These events include farmers’ markets, local food conferences, Earth Day Spokane, VegFest, block parties, neighborhood council meetings, and more. Tabling at these events has allowed members of the community to learn about SETP’s mission and programming, and to sign up for a monthly newsletter, which provides updates about volunteer opportunities. At these events, SETP also has a variety of marketing materials available, such as brochures, business cards, t-shirts (suggested donation $15) and tote bags (suggested donation $10).
SETP posts updates and events on Facebook several times per week. During gleaning season, there is more of a social media presence; however, educational videos, articles, and events are also shared during the off-season. Many individuals interact with the page by “liking”, “sharing”, or “commenting” on posts. Individuals use Facebook when indicating if they are attending an event (and they are redirected to the website to RSVP, as that is typically a more reliable sign that they will attend). In addition to Facebook, SETP is also active on Instagram and Twitter, especially during gleaning season and when there are upcoming events.
Spokane Edible Tree Project’s website can be used to learn about volunteer opportunities, submit tree registrations, find out about upcoming events, RSVP for gleans through Volunteer Spokane, sign up for gleaning updates, apply to be on the Board of Directors, and subscribe to the monthly newsletter and gleaning updates email list.
Through a combination of outreach campaigns and word-of-mouth connections, SETP has been featured by local media outlets such as the Spokesman-Review, the Inlander, Natural Awakenings, and KXLY News. This has helped to bolster the organization’s image and has resulted in an increase in tree registrations.
Spokane Edible Tree Project (SETP) was founded in 2013 by former Harvest Against Hunger Americorps VISTA Kate Burke. Through her work in a produce recovery position at Second Harvest Food Bank, she recognized the abundance of fruit trees in Spokane County and noticed that much of this fruit goes to waste. SETP was formed to fill this gap in the system and to empower the community to share the resources that are so abundantly available to them. SETP became a certified 501(c)(3) in 2015. The organization is currently run by community volunteers and a Harvest Against Hunger AmeriCorps VISTA.
In 2016, SETP recruited their first Harvest Against Hunger AmeriCorps VISTA, who served as the program coordinator for the organization. The second-year VISTA (2017-2018) expanded the program to include gleaning produce from the Spokane Farmers’ Market. Their third-year VISTA (2018-2019) continues to coordinate gleaning, outreach, volunteer recruitment, grant-writing, and educational programming. Together, the work of the three VISTA’s prevented more than 100,000 pounds of produce from going to waste in Spokane County. Additionally, WSU Extension of Spokane County has been a valuable partner for SETP, supporting and supervising the AmeriCorps VISTA. The extension office has also been an essential partner in developing SETP’s educational program.