Harvest Against Hunger AmeriCorps VISTA Cassidy Berlin serves as program coordinator between the Vashon Maury Island Community Food Bank and the Food Access Partnership. FAP is a program of the Vashon Island Growers Association and strives to make local food more accessible to community members while fairly compensating farmers. This collaboration draws surplus island harvests to the food bank to combat economic obstacles that prevent fresh, local produce from being a staple in 1 in 7 island homes.

As October draws to a fast and chilly close, the Vashon Island community welcomes its first seasonal frost and blankets of sleepy morning fog. Farmers are scrambling to get their final annual crops harvested, and the Vashon Food Bank is taking advantage of the seasonal lull by planning future holiday-themed food drives and distributions. Harvest for Vashon program coordinator Cassidy Berlin continues liaising between both parties, and prepares to transition a new program coordinator just in time for Thanksgiving. 

The community has given generously to Harvest over the last year- donating starts, garden produce, volunteer labor, and trees heavy with ripe fruit. When owners of an institutional island farm experienced an upheaval that left the property undertended and unprofitable for several months, Harvest for Vashon found a way to give back. The VISTA reached out and arranged to purchase kale and onions through the King County Farmer’s Share program. She also sent a small team of volunteers to harvest the kale and collect the drying onions on behalf of the farmer and their family. 

The year 3 VISTA will get to know the Vashon growing community through conversations with local farmers, volunteers, and Harvest partner organizations. In the spirit of community abundance and upcoming holiday gratitude, Harvest for Vashon thanks the local growing community for their support, and welcomes exciting new leadership ahead.