Are you ready to harvest?

Vrijwilligers De Groentedeler

Start as a volunteer of Stichting De Groentedeler!

A new season has started at Zelfoogsttuin Bij Mei. This means the volunteers of De Groentedeler are already gearing up to harvest the first vegetables in about a month or two. We are looking forward to sharing a variation of highly nutritious vegetables with all clients of De Voedselbank in Leiden. Will you lend a helping hand? We will start mid-May!


A new season with an even greater ambition

Last year, our volunteers harvested 8,000 portions of fresh vegetables. A number that brought great joy to the clients of Voedselbank Leiden. This year, our ambition is even greater. We aim to offer the households that rely on Voedselbank Leiden (approximately 1,600 people from over 600 households) up to 10,000 portions of fresh vegetables.

Mariska Verhulst, owner of Zelfoogsttuin Bij Mei where these vegetables are grown, is excited about this goal. “Fresh organic vegetables are often mainly accessible to the wealthier population. I think it is wonderful that by collaborating with De Groentedeler, we can now bring these vegetables to people who cannot afford fresh organic food, or even vegetables at all.” she says.


A wide variety of nutrients

Every year, Zelfoogsttuin Bij Mei plants and harvests around 40 to 50 different crops. With a mixture of familiar and lesser-known vegetables, it is always a surprise to our volunteers what they will harvest that particular week. For example, this year root parsley is planted, with a taste that resembles a mix of parsnip, celeriac and parsley. With these types of vegetables, we get to discover new varieties through every season.

The clients of De Voedselbank are also curious about the new crops. They look forward to the fresh products that this new season has to offer. Vegetables they may not always be familiar with, but which they enjoy tasting nonetheless.

The first seedlings of the season have been collected by Mariska, the soil has been prepared, and the people of Zelfoogsttuin Bij Mei are actively sowing. Let’s hope for some great weather conditions for a prosperous growth!


“You need other people to achieve the most idealistic goals”

Vrijwilligers Jule Forth
Photo credits: Jule Forth

By working together with volunteers, a new connection is formed. With each other, with the earth and with the food that you eat. You meet new people, discover new crops and help the clients of De Voedselbank while you enjoy the outdoors, learning a variation of harvesting techniques throughout the season.

Whether you have years of experience or none at all, as a volunteer, you’ll learn everything you need to know. “Besides, it is a thousand times more fun to work in the garden than to go to the gym,” adds Mariska.

Our volunteer Chris Oppenheimer tells us in an interview that his primal motivation is to help others. You can read more about his experiences as a volunteer on our website.


Your tasks as a volunteer

Volunteers of Stichting De Groentedeler come to the garden on Tuesday mornings. Some arrive weekly, others every other week, depending on their schedules.

Between 8:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m., vegetables are harvested, washed, bundled and handed over to De Voedselbank. The vegetables are distributed to many grateful people that very same day.

As soon as the vegetables are collected, it is time for a nice coffee break, naturally accompanied by a tasty cookie. Then we clean up the vegetable beds together and head home again.

“It is very special to me that every Tuesday there are volunteers present to harvest fresh vegetables for someone else. Here at the garden, a community is formed that helps other people. There’s involvement and connection. A togetherness that can make a difference for those who lack fresh vegetables in their daily meals,” says Mariska.


Try it out and join a morning in May

Are you curious if harvesting vegetables suits you? Come join our team for one of the first mornings. Here you can experience the satisfaction that harvesting brings, the unity with other volunteers and the learning curve you go through during the growth process of the vegetables you harvest.

Send an email to and meet the rest of the team!


Both photo’s are taken by Jule Forth