Volunteer Spotlight: Dave Beeman Calls City Fruit His Wellness Plan

UntitledCity Fruit is my wellness plan 

The rewards of volunteering at City Fruit go both ways, reflects Dave Beeman, recipient of the (2014) Gail Savina Outstanding Service Award. Dave describes his volunteer work as highly satisfying: “it feels really good!” Volunteering for City Fruit is not only mentally rewarding, but also the physical activity of being outside in the sunshine, under a plum or pear tree, is the best kind of workout. Who needs a gym? “There’s no better feeling,” Dave says. And the positive feelings go two directions. With great excitement, community members served by City Fruit are known to encircle Dave, reaching into the crate for nutritious fruits even before he reaches the door of Seattle’s Food Banks.

From IT to music teacher to jack of all trades 

Dave is known around Seattle as a classical piano teacher. One of his life’s passions, Dave was able to return to teaching music after a 20-year hiatus working in computer science. Dave’s knowledge of IT and data systems have benefitted City Fruit. In addition to picking and delivering fruit, and doing “whatever Gail tells me,” Dave is the engineer behind City Fruit’s computer systems. Coordinating the harvest across 5 neighborhoods, multiple volunteers and staff, and hundreds of trees bearing a variety of fruits throughout the harvest season can be a complex undertaking. Dave’s IT skills have made this coordination run smoothly. Need to know when the apple season will begin? City Fruit’s records provide answers from previous years’ harvests. Where to send the next crop of plum pickers to harvest and deliver for the neighborhood food bank? Consult the database. Which of our partners want to buy figs? Let’s look that up!

It’s all about relationships 

Seattle is a city of orchards. We have an abundance of fruit, and much of it is REALLY GOOD fruit. Selling figs and up to 10% of other valuable fruit to local business partners has been a way to sustain City Fruit and underwrite the costs of running the organization. These relationships help make a strong organization, and they bring meaning to the volunteers who interface with City Fruit’s partners. Dave delivers sellable fruits to the kitchens of many of Seattle’s favorite chefs, often providing the story of the fruit’s origins and the people who picked it. Over the years, Dave has developed friendships with many of these partners, and his connections have landed him a tasty sweet treat here and there, such as a fig bar from Dahlia Bakery.

Many already know that Dave Beeman is married to founder and former executive director, Gail Savina. Among Dave’s many volunteer responsibilities, perhaps his most important contribution has been to serve as a sounding board and “listening to Gail” through the ins-and-outs of running a great organization. Now that Gail has moved on, she’s still suggesting ways for Dave to help City Fruit. Gail recently told Executive Director, Kate Morrison: “Need help picking fruit? Dave’ll be available.”

For Dave, volunteering for City Fruit is fulfilling. Harvest the unused fruit growing in the city, deliver the nutritious fruit to Seattle’s emergency food distribution, maintain the urban orchard and its database, and build community. “It’s such a wonderful organization, built around a simple concept.”

Interested in getting involved as a City Fruit volunteer? Contact Melanie Peters, City Fruit’s Community Outreach Coordinator.

City Fruit Board Member, Melissa Poe, recently caught up with Dave Beeman, recipient of the 2014 Gail Savina Outstanding Service Award. Above, Melissa tells us about “Dave’s Story” and what has motivated his excellent volunteer service to City Fruit over the years.