Will you be in Rochester this summer and are interested in volunteering with organizations related to sustainability and the environment? Rochester has many organizations devoted to these causes – keep reading for a selection of the many options out there!
Flower City Pickers
Flower City Pickers is an organization that collects unsold produce and other food items at the City of Rochester Public Market every Saturday. These donations are then sorted by volunteers into three categories: fit for human consumption, fit for animal consumption, and must be composted. All of the higher quality food gets taken by organizations that operate in the city to help feed people, such as Roc Mutual Aid Network. The animal food is often donated to a pig farmer. Not only does Flower City Pickers help the people of Rochester, they’re also helping to avoid food ending up in landfills, where it would decompose and likely create more methane, a potent greenhouse gas. You can sign up to volunteer on their website, with volunteer shifts being from 2-4 p.m. on Saturdays.
M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence
The Ghandi Institute is located near the University of Rochester campus, across the river on S. Plymouth Avenue, where it’s been since 2012. Their mission is to equip “people to use nonviolence to create a sustainable and just world for all” and hosts programming on nonviolence education, environmental sustainability, restorative practices, and racial justice. You can apply to one of their many volunteer opportunities on their website. They are also hosting “Garden Work Parties” every Saturday this summer from 1-3 p.m. where volunteers help plant, tend, and harvest produce and flowers which are distributed throughout the neighborhood.
Rochester Ecology Partners
Rochester Ecology Partners is a relatively new organization, hosting their first event in 2022. Their mission is to connect people living in urban Rochester with nature. You can contact Rochester Ecology Partners via their website form to inquire about becoming a program volunteer with their youth programming, community events, and research projects.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of every sustainability related volunteering opportunity in Rochester but hopefully it is a good starting point! Let us know in the comments below if you have any suggestions.
Written by Sarah Woodams ‘24(T5)