Mother Earth Farm

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Emergency Food Network’s Mother Earth Farm is an 8-acre organic farm located in the beautiful Puyallup Valley. The farm distributes 80,000 pounds of fresh fruit, vegetables, and herbs to Pierce County food banks and meal sites. Food from the farm is available to food banks within 24-hours of harvest.

It would not be possible to provide this fresh food option to people in need without the help from volunteers. In the spring, volunteers at the farm assist with seeding, weeding, and irrigation. In the summer and fall, the focus is on weeding and harvesting.

To volunteer for at EFN’s Mother Earth Farm, please call our Coordinator of Volunteer Activities at (253) 584-1040 or e-mail

volunteers with plants

Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays
April 30 – September 24, 2016
Come out for one day a month or once a week! Helping hands are needed on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Morning sessions (9:00 am – 12:00 pm) and afternoon sessions (12:30 – 3:30 pm) are available. Registration is required. 

Check out our Mother Earth Farm Calendar below to see what dates are available.


Frequently Asked Questions for Volunteers

Do you accept drop-in volunteers?

Registration is required. Due to safety reasons and limited capacity at the farm, we ask volunteers to not drop-in. Registration closes for Saturday and Sunday sessions on Friday at 3:00 pm. At this time, we do not have online registration. To register, please contact our Coordinator of Volunteer Activities at (2253) 584-1040 or at

Where is Mother Earth Farm?

Mother Earth Farm is located between Sumner and Orting on Highway 162. Directions to the farm are provided with registration.

What do volunteers do at the farm?

We always try to make sure that you have the opportunity to perform different tasks during your volunteer day. These may include transplanting, seeding, harvesting, laying irrigation lines, or just about anything that needs to be done, and because weeding is such an important job almost all volunteers will spend some portion of their time helping out with weeds (and just about everyone ends up liking it!).

Why is weeding so important?

Weeding is one of the most urgent tasks out at the farm. This is because weeds compete with our crops for nutrients. In order to grow as much healthy produce as we responsibly can for our food banks, we try to eliminate weeds that would otherwise take up minerals, water, sunlight, and space. It’s easiest to get rid of weeds when they are small, so we weed frequently, before they have a chance to overtake our crops. If you are not physically able to weed we can accommodate your needs without issue.

Why can’t I volunteer Monday through Thursday?

Our crew from the Washington Correctional Center for Women works at the farm Monday through Thursday, while volunteer days are Fridays and Saturdays. We don’t allow volunteers the rest of the week for a few reasons. First, our contract with WCCW does not allow members of the public to be present at the farm while the crew is working. Second, the crew is at the farm as part of an educational and work program, and we want to ensure that we meet our responsibility to them as teachers and supervisors. Thirdly, we also hope to make your volunteer experience meaningful, and try to devote time to you during your time with us. We think that everyone’s experience will benefit from the added attention we can share.

Is farming or gardening experience required?

No experience is needed to volunteer at the farm. EFN staff will be on site to provide you with training and supervision. Gloves and tools will be provided. Volunteers are welcome to bring a lunch and enjoy the picnic area.

Can I bring a group?

Volunteering at Mother Earth Farm is a great opportunity for business, civic, and school groups to work together while giving back to our community. Group sizes up to 20 can be accommodated. If you have a larger group, we may be able to accommodate you. To ensure we have projects available for your group, registration is required.

Can I bring children or a youth group to volunteer?

Absolutely! We welcome volunteers of all ages to Mother Earth Farm. Volunteers age 15 and under do need to volunteer with an adult. Volunteers age 16 and 17 can volunteer without an adult but will need to submit a liability waiver signed by a parent or guardian.

Recommended adult / youth ratio for families, schools, and youth groups:

  • Ages 0 – 6: Youth age 0 – 6 need to have a 1:1 youth and adult ratio.
  • Ages 7 – 12: Youth age 7 – 12 need to have a 1:4 youth and adult ratio.
  • Ages 13 – 15: Youth age 13-15 need to have a 1:8 youth and adult ratio.

Please help us keep our minimum volunteer age at 0 by following our youth guidelines. While we value the volunteer opportunity we provide at Mother Earth Farm for families, schools, and youth groups of all ages to work together, we do ask all volunteers to understand Mother Earth Farm is a working farm with the primary goal being to grow fresh, organic produce for food banks and our neighbors in need.

To keep the minimum age at 0, we need parents and guardians to follow a “hands on, eyes on” approach with the children they’re volunteering with at all times. For every vegetable plant that’s crushed when stepped on, unripe produce that’s picked, and branch of a fruit tree that’s broken off, that is less food we have to feed our neighbors in need.

Why do you use organic practices at Mother Earth Farm?

Organic farming is defined as not using synthetic or chemical fertilizers, herbicides or insecticides. We instead rely on existing ecosystem functions to grow food. We use crop rotation, biological tools, and mechanical tools to promote biological biodiversity which in turn increases plant, soil, insect, and farm health. In addition, by not using pesticides and chemical fertilizers our farm is also a safer place to volunteer and work—an important factor for us as we rely on the hard work of volunteers to make Mother Earth Farm run!

Every EFN volunteer must fill out a Volunteer Liability Waiver before volunteering for the first time. Fill out your waiver today!

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