Harvesting carrots at the San Antonio Food Bank. Photo by Mitch Hagney.
Mitch Hagney harvests carrots at the San Antonio Food Bank. Photo by Laurel Smyth.

The San Antonio Food Bank sits on a footprint of 27.5 acres, with most of the space devoted to farmland that produces literal tons crops.

In the field today, there are 33 rows of carrots ready to harvest but not enough workers to harvest and wash them. That represents thousands of pounds and dollars of useful crops for the Food Bank. The weather has been great and the crop is enormous, but without help, most of the carrots will go to waste. So, the Food Bank has requested a harvest blitz – all the volunteers they can get.

Over the next several days, Head farmer Mike Persyn will loosen the carrots in the soil with a tractor attachment and volunteers will pull them out of the field for processing, all while learning about farming. Volunteers can feel the sun on their faces and the soil on their fingers – one of the surest ways to shed some stress and truly escape from the office.

Volunteers must register beforehand at safoodbank.org or by calling 210-431-8388.

Farm Assistant Stephanie Patillo (left) harvests carrots at the San Antonio Food Bank farm with Farm Manager Mike Persyn. Photo by Mitch Hagney.
Farm Assistant Stephanie Patillo (left) harvests carrots at the San Antonio Food Bank farm with Farm Manager Mike Persyn. Photo by Mitch Hagney.

The carrots will benefit the Food Bank, furthering their mission of feeding the city with fresh produce and saving them thousands of dollars. It’s an easy way to get outside, make a difference, meet new people, and score a couple carrots on the side.

Because the carrots don’t have much time left to be harvested before they degrade, volunteers are encouraged to register to volunteer Saturday, Monday, or Tuesday for the morning shift, which is 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Farming is fun-but-tough work so volunteers should bring water, sunscreen, and sneakers or boots. They should arrive a little early, at 8:50 a.m.

*Featured/top image: Mitch Hagney harvests carrots at the San Antonio Food Bank. Photo by Laurel Smyth.

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Mitch Hagney

Mitch Hagney is a writer and hydroponic farmer in downtown San Antonio. Hagney is CEO of LocalSprout and president of the Food Policy Council of San Antonio.