For non-profit organizations relying on volunteers to operate, investigations into the motivations of volunteerism are critical to attract new volunteers and to support the current ones. This study looked at volunteerism in the not-for-profit project The SEED in Ontario, Canada, which is looking to address food insecurity through a new social enterprise project that will create value-added “upcycled” products from second-grade produce while offering training opportunities for youth facing barriers to employment. The aims of this paper were to explore why volunteers chose to offer their time to this project and to gauge the current volunteers’ interest in volunteering with the organization’s new “Upcycle Kitchen”. Thirty-seven volunteers responded to a self-administered survey. They reported altruism, self-development, and social life improvement as their main motivations for volunteering. The volunteers expressed enthusiasm toward the Upcycle Kitchen initiative, which seems to be attributable to the multidimensional, creative, and educational aspects of the project. Tackling food insecurity and reducing the environmental impact of food waste are values which would most likely influence the respondents’ willingness to volunteer in food upcycling activities. We believe that this study is a good model to learn about the many facets of volunteerism for social enterprises developing upcycling-based food projects.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited